A couple of students sent me some information on this Screensavers campaign they are working on. This campaign aims to encourage healthy digital technology habits amongst children, and works to nurture healthier digital kids through activities involving parent-child interaction. Interesting! It got me thinking of how we are managing the kids and the gadgets.
We have escaped the iPad addiction because the husband and I do not use one. The kids hardly disturb their Daddy’s phone because his iPhone is purely for work and has no apps for them. But there’s always YouTube to the rescue if he needs the phone to save him some sanity from the kids. Ha!
Kids these days are incredibly smart. As young as my toddlers are (a 3yo and an-almost-2yo), the duo knows which phone of mine (a Note and an iPhone) to go for if they are looking for certain apps/games. Sometimes I would move the apps around to mislead them into thinking the apps are no longer there, but they would find them somehow without a grumble!
I wouldn’t say they are hooked onto the phones as they usually only request (read: WHINE & CRY) for the phones during car rides.
THEN! I came to realize that they usually ask for the phones when:
- They have nothing to do.
- I take my phone out and spend slightly more time on it.
Fair enough. So here’s what I do:
INTERACT with them. No kidding! I was surprised at how simple the solution really was for us.
For the cub, I started off with teaching him the different types of vehicles he can see during our rides by pointing them out excitedly. Trucks, vans, cars, buses, pick-ups, taxis and even the MRT! (It could be anything that appeals to your child more – trees, birds, clouds, etc.)
For the lil’ dragonlady, she quite enjoys singing the songs that the cub and I sing to. So together with the cub, we will show her the actions as we sing the songs. She entertains herself at times now.
The cub would now look out for his favourite trucks and gets excited whenever we go past any construction sites. “Mommy, look!! Truck!! Mommy, look! Con-shuak-sion site!” His babysis picks up very quickly from him and has learned to identify some of the vehicles as well.
To spice things up occasionally, I would categorise the cars into MPVs, SUVs, sports cars, etc. Or simply go by the brands of the cars and have him slowly recognize the logos.
They do ask for the phone at times when they spot me using it. So I’ve cut down on my time spent on the phone whenever I’m with them. If I have to use it, I would just hide the phone from their view or tell them, “Mommy has to respond to this message. I’ll put it away when I’m done!” And I do put it away when I’m done.
So basically, we set the examples. They are not that attracted to the iPad cos their folks don’t use one. They cut down on phone use when they don’t see us using it as much. They like to borrow my phone to take pictures, which I totally get cos I do that often with them. Guess we as parents, gotta know when to put the foot down, or the gadgets in this case!
Here are six tips the people behind the campaign have to share:
The Screensavers Day Out is coming up! It is an event that encourages families to have fun outdoors while learning about healthy digital technology use, particularly through six Screen Tips.
Date: 15 – 16 March 14
Venue: Lot One Shoppers’ Mall, Level 5, Rooftop Garden.
Time: 11am – 7pm
You can look forward to enjoying the Screensavers Trail that your family can complete together, learning at the Screensavers exhibit, a CitiBlocs station, a bouncy castle, face painting and balloon sculpting!