By Bianca Carter
I love technology. I’m an iPhone, iPad kind of girl; sorry Android lovers! Nothing allows me the sense of freedom like my device. If I feel like redecorating or trying out a new recipe, within seconds I’m browsing, searching and connecting to programmes that allow me to be inspired and get creative.
Remember those days when we wanted to look something up or research a particular subject we had to refer to encyclopedias or other publications, reading countless pages, hoping to find the answer to our question. Feels like the Stone Age, doesn’t it? It’s truly amazing that we now have access to billions and billions of pieces of information that we can apply to our daily lives, thus enhancing our individual lives.
Our kids never grew up in that world; they don’t know what it’s like to refer to a publication, read dozens of pages, and search for hours to find information on a particular subject.
Technology has made us more efficient and effective, no doubt, but when technology becomes an obsession, a habit that takes us from the truly important things and moments in life, we have regressed into an environment that is unhealthy and quite stagnant.
Honestly, I am very happy I didn’t grow up with all of the technology, social media, apps and accessibility that kids have today.
I actually got to be a silly, sometimes irresponsible teenager that didn’t always make the right decision, in private, not in front of everyone.
There’s nothing that bothers me more than people that choose to use social media to display their private issues and grievances for the world to see. Don’t get me wrong, I use social media to vent sometimes, too, but I’m not telling the world about my personal life issues and dilemmas to the point of embarrassment and I’m not having a full on argument in front of everyone on social media either.
If you’re using social media to bring awareness to a cause, that’s admirable and acceptable, but some things should be kept private, everyone in the world doesn’t need to know your business; we all have issues that we are dealing with.
Some people have even lost jobs as a result of poor social media habits; in fact, many employers will research their potential job candidate’s Facebook page to see what type of person they are considering hiring. This is what concerns me about kids these days posting things that they shouldn’t, not thinking about the ramifications of certain ideas, comments and pictures.
Once information is out there, it’s out there for millions of people to see all over the world. I think we should be teaching “social media responsibility” classes in high school, and I also think that parents should be actively involved in monitoring what their children are doing online and with social media. I’m pretty sure that there is an app for that.
My children are typical kids of today, into their computer programmes, iPads and apps, but recently I noticed that they were doing very little else other than playing or watching their iPads. I’ll be honest, when my kids were toddlers; I always said that I would never allow these iPads to take over their lives.
You know when you are at a restaurant and you see kids with their parents at the table and they’re using their tablets, I actually judged those parents. I know, I’m sad to say that, but it’s the truth. Then I became one of those parents that allowed my kids at the table with the iPads just so I could have meaningful conversation with other adults, and when I realised that I had broken my own rules and how I judged people for doing that same thing. I knew something had to be done to correct it.
I put my kids on a detox – a technology detox. We had a family meeting and discussed all of the good things, things that were working well for us as a family, and then we discussed the things that were not working.
When I told the kids that they couldn’t use their iPads during the week, only on the weekends, I got lots of tears but after the first two weeks things started to normalise; I didn’t get as much begging, pleading and bargaining to change my mind on the “no weekday iPad” rule as I did before. My kids started using their imagination, reading, creating art and playing outside with the neighbourhood kids or more importantly, with each other. How amazing is that? Just like the “olden days”.
I encourage you to find ways to get your children to connect to all of those things that make being a child so special. Maybe even consider a little detox; it won’t hurt them.
Love and hugs!
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor (CLC), founder of Bun in the Oven, and weekend radio personality on Y98 radio. For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. Follow BITO on Facebook at babybunintheoven, and check out the BITO Blog every Monday and Thursday at http://babybunintheoven.com/