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Are your kids begging you to buy them a tablet, Wii, or smartphone? Here are 5 reasons you should say no, in reverse order of importance.

5. All your friends and neighbors regret they gave in.

Have you talked to any parent who has said, “I’m so glad we bought our son video games?” or, “I wish our daughter spent more time texting?” Although this may not be true of our society as a whole, every relative, homeschool parent, and friend I have discussed the subject with tells me, “Don’t do it.”

4. Kids with more screen time are less healthy.

The more time kids spend with digital devices, the less time they are running around or getting fresh air. Instead of playing virtual ball, your kids should be outside with a real bat.

3. They will read less often.

Whether reading ebooks is as beneficial to kids’ education and reading levels as print books is still being debated. But in general, the more digital devices a child uses, the less time he spends reading. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. Kids who are bored would traditionally pick up a book to pass the time.  Now they pick up a tablet.

2. It will harm their ability to relate to others.

Life is about relationships, not activities. Children need to be engaging others in conversation, and working and playing with others. Don’t let  machines be their best friends.

1. They won’t be able to practice mental prayer.

This is vitally important! Too much sensory stimulation, whether from TV, loud music, or the internet, damages kids’ ability to concentrate. If you are constantly distracted, how can you spend half an hour in quiet time with God? Mental prayer is the key to holiness. Don’t deprive your kids of it for the sake of keeping up with their peers!

Connie Rossini

Share with us: Have you given in? What results have you seen? If you have stood firm, what are your reasons?

 

Written by crossini4774

    23 Comments

  1. Karen August 2, 2013 at 7:49 am Reply

    I couldn’t agree more! We have not given our kids any digital devices but we do have a video game console and it has the potential to be just as bad. We have strict limits on video game time- but I have witnessed first hand that their behavior is different after they have played- and not for the better! Even though we are choosy about the games they play- they tend to be more aggressive with each other. My kids do “beg” for those digital devices- but there will be plenty of time for them to enjoy these items when they are adults!

    • Connie Rossini August 2, 2013 at 8:32 am Reply

      Absolutely there will be plenty of time later. Why are we so much in a hurry? I feel the same way about movies. We’re very cautious about what they watch at a young age. Let’s let them be kids!

  2. Ruth Ann August 2, 2013 at 8:39 am Reply

    I agree. Number 2 of you list is the one that I see most often. Children and parents end up not interacting with one another.

    There were none of these digital devices when we raised our daughter, but there was TV, and we had one—and only one. But grandparents wanted to buy Catherine one for herself. We said no. When TV was on we watched as a family. It was a shared experience. Later we had a computer, but no Internet. We limited her use of it to 30 minutes daily. Catherine spent her time drawing, practicing music, outdoors playing, etc.

    • Connie Rossini August 2, 2013 at 9:08 am Reply

      Yes, my boys spend so much time outside. And they’ve all become great readers, even the one with super amounts of energy and a need to be social almost 24/7.

  3. Jenny August 2, 2013 at 9:12 am Reply

    Excellent post Connie. It is such a hard time to raise kids with all these virtual distractions. Our kids laugh (sometimes)because we are so behind the times–we have one laptop and one desktop, but the laptop stays in the dinning room along with the desktop. We have one television in the family room and two telephones, both of which are wall mounted. My husband and I each have a cell phone, but they old flip tops.

    We introduce technology as needed and age appropriate.

    • Connie Rossini August 2, 2013 at 11:30 am Reply

      Thanks, Jenny. Our household is very similar.

  4. Jen August 2, 2013 at 9:13 am Reply

    I find these types of post a bit of a sting. My child has autism, and the iPad he has is of great help. Not all of us can live the same type of lifestyle. His iPad helps him to communicate via verbal cues and social stories, as well as apps that help facilitate speech, which he needs in order to relate to others.. As mother of six children, two with developmental delays, I don’t regret their use of it (which is daily). We all have our own path, and I think there has to be balance with everything. It’s what Our Lord taught us (I am also a Secular Carmelite myself).

    • Connie Rossini August 2, 2013 at 11:40 am Reply

      Jen, thanks for commenting. I certainly don’t want to criticize anything that helps your child with autism function better. I have heard before that they can be helpful to kids with autism, but haven’t read much on it, so I’ll let the experts/parents of these children determine what’s best. How you would balance that with the other kids in the family, I just don’t know. But I suspect most families aren’t buying digital devices for their children for the same reasons you are. Your comment shows why we cannot judge others from appearances–but that does not mean that general standards should not exist.

      • Jen August 5, 2013 at 5:39 am Reply

        My older children don’t use it. It hasn’t been an issue with them. They are middle school and elementary school age. They also do not go online, or use FB, or have phones, etc. It’s been an easy balance so far.

  5. melanie jean juneau August 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply

    my kids had one half hour on the computer each and Maybe one tv show… they are creative, well read and social

    • Connie Rossini August 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm Reply

      Like their mama!:)

      • melanie jean juneau August 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm Reply

        umm..Isn’t that odd?..I always praise my kids but don’t really apply those adjectives to myself.

  6. Lisa August 5, 2013 at 11:15 am Reply

    You have really made some great points here. I agree with you completely!

    • Connie Rossini August 5, 2013 at 11:22 am Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Lisa. Isn’t it encouraging to know we are not alone in this?

  7. literatelibran August 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm Reply

    I liked this so much that I posted in my homeschool facebook page!

  8. literatelibran August 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm Reply

    Not to spam you, but if you want to see where I linked it, it’s here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Literate-Little-One/342722995748000?ref=hl

  9. Manny August 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm Reply

    Sigh, this issue has torn me a bit. In principle I support every one of your reasons. In my heart I agree with you. The argument against them are that the children develop new skills of the 21st century, computer skills. I have a cousin, a rich cousin, who has given her six year old the latest ipad. He’s a whizz on it. I don’t know what the right answer is. I have no intention of trying “to keep up with the Jones’s.” I just want what’s best for my son. I don’t have to make this decision yet since my son is not quite four years old. But I can tell you he loves to sit at my laptop and play his youtube kid’s songs. He’s already good a navigating around, though he can’t type words of course.

    • Connie Rossini August 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm Reply

      Thanks for your honesty, Manny. I know this is a struggle for a lot of people. Studies show that kids who learn to use a computer at a young age have no more proficiency as they get older than those who never use one until their teens. Of course, now that computers are used so much in school, computer use at home may help some kids do better in subjects where they need to use it at school. So there could be a slight advantage there. But computer skills can be learned at any age. They are not like language skills, where proficiency tends to diminish if you learn them later. Look at all the middle-aged computer whizzes out there. Few of them probably had a PC when they were young. Pray about it.

  10. fitlady1967 May 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm Reply

    I go round and round about this in my heart and head. I am not a “keep up with the Jones'” but I am one lives in reality and know that my kiddos need to know what their friends are talking about as they are outside playing. We do have restrictions on what and how long they can play on their non-ipad tablets. But they play a few games together such as MineCraft where they work together. It has been a big way that my 2 very different kids can actually bond and play together. Hubby as even gotten in on the action and plays on his phone and they all 3 play together on the same server (whatever that means). My kids do go outside and play a HUGE amount, weather permitting. We have nights where we have scheduled family game nights. One is very involved in CYO sports and has already earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. The other one is very interested in crafts and uses the computer to find all sorts of new crafts and how-to videos on YouTube. Both girls love to listen to me read out loud to them and have found that they can find free audio books on You Tube. This has been a life saver for our whole family – I have one who loves to read but sometimes has trouble because of a sensory issue, and another who is terrified of books longer than 15 pages (have no idea why, she just is). The oldest follows along in her assigned book while she listens. The youngest will knit or loom bracelets while listening to a book on the tablet. The tablets are terrific for long trips and camping trips because they take up so much less space for those rainy days when we all sit around reading or if someone just needs some alone time. There are things that my kiddos have learned through controlled and monitored exploration on the computer and on their tablets that have stimulated fun projects, amazing discussions and further research. Even though they have tablets, their favorite place to visit is the public library or a book store. They beg for visits to the parks or to go camping as a family or to run around outside with friends. But there are times they do want some alone time to just be – sometimes with a book, sometimes with the tablet, sometimes with a craft and sometimes with the Bible.

    You do bring up some valid concerns about children who are left unsupervised with a tablet. Yet I have read this article a few times and still come away from it feeling as this inanimate object is being vilified when it can actually be used as a very effective tool. A plain old book can create an obese, socially stunted person just as much as a tablet can. It is up to the parent to create an environment that nurtures and models social interaction, physical activity, a love for reading and family and private spirituality.

    • Connie Rossini May 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm Reply

      I have to admit that my post was more or less assuming that the device would be misused. That’s because I have no experience of kids having a tablet without the negatives I wrote about. Is it possible to use them only beneficially? I think so, but I also think it’s very hard, and I don’t think we need something else hard to regulate! Here are a couple of other points I made on a Facebook discussion of this: age matters. I see very little benefit for small ones having any electronic device of their own, and none that outweigh potential negatives. But it is different as kids grow older. And the second point is, I’m talking about kids having their own devices, not occasionally using their parents’. I wouldn’t buy my kids their own TV, so why would I buy them their own tablet? We regulate what they watch (mostly carefully chosen videos and a few PBS programs with me), but I think it would be super difficult to do this if they owned a set and had it in their room, for example. A tablet, being small and portable, is going to be much more difficult than that. So, yes, I do think it’s possible to use it correctly. But I don’t think it’s easy, and I think that it presents a real danger of abuse for even the most well-meaning parents, once kids have the device. And I didn’t even mention anything about the cost. We try to live simply. I don’t buy my kids anything that costs $100 +, and tablets usually run over $300, don’t they? I don’t want my kids to live extravagantly. I will probably revisit the issue when my oldest gets his own job after age 16 and can save his own money for gadgets. But after discussing this issue with a few other moms, I am leaning towards being less absolutist about it. Without changing my mind about how our family is going to decide the question 🙂

      BTW, I write ebooks and don’t own a tablet myself. I may have to at some point, but right now, I think even the danger of my overusing it is just too real a possibility.

      • Nancy Archer May 14, 2014 at 3:00 am Reply

        My kiddos are 10 and 12. They have their own tablets…we paid no more than $60 each and it came out of a bonus check I got from work. You are right in that they are one more thing that we need to monitor. Hubby is an IT guy and checks all histories frequently. We are trying to simplify our lives as well, and having items that decrease clutter is a sanity saver for us. The tablets hold so much that would normally clutter our house. I personally don’t have one. I do have a Kindle which I use for reading because I can get so many free books and as I said before, no clutter given how much I read. I agree that there are risks involved with tablets, but anything can be abused. We view the tablets as tools and treats which are given by and can be taken away just as easily if trust is broken. In fact the kiddos have been grounded from using them a couple of times. It is just a way that my family has found to meet some needs in the least invasive way possible. I guess part of it is that we view them more as tools than toys and that is what we are teaching the kiddos.

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