I am so guilty. I am just as responsible as the next American parent for a phenomenon that is swiftly and sadly sweeping the nation.
Techno-Kids. That’s not what the experts call them, but it’s my word. These are the kids who aren’t getting enough of real life because the majority of their time is spent using some type of technology device.
I sense a type of irony here since I am using a laptop (technology). Let me explain.
Last night as I was trying to power down my brain before bed, I was thumb-scrolling mindless posts on Facebook. Yep, there’s that double standard again. I stumbled on the following post. Reasons Today’s Kids are Bored at School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience and Few Real Friends
It’s a harsh title, but I’m a teacher, so I clicked and read. And
It. Hit. Home.
My teacher friends have lamented for years that kids are getting “worse”. They won’t sit still anymore. They’re bored.They are ruder, they interrupt more. They argue with peers more. Consequences don’t phase them. They’re bored. They whine. They can’t handle any challenge. They refuse to try if you’re not holding their hand. They’re bored.
And all the parents blame US for their children’s failure in schools. Socially, behaviorally, and academically. We are TRYING so very hard to help the children we serve. Every second, every report, every test we’re forced to give. We’re trying, but the kids (not all), just aren’t rising to the occasion. The potential of a generation is sitting, stagnating, and atrophying before it is ever cultivated. It is defeating and even the best teachers sometimes have a hard time finding the motivation to do it again the next day.
It’s not a revelation that technology has a hand in what is happening to AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF AMERICANS. The revelation that I had last night I AM ONE OF THOSE PARENTS. I am raising a child who is going to turn into one of the thousands of children across the country that can’t do anything for themselves because they are so dependent on their glowing box of entertainment. Because we love them so much we help them do everything. Because we are blessed enough to have the means to give them what they want. We’re not helping them. We aren’t raising them anymore.
I SWORE I would not let my kids grow up to be one of THEM. For the first YEAR of my oldest’s life, she did not watch TV. We ate dinner as a family and talked to her. She was my pride and joy as my teacher-heart watched her play in the floor, ‘reading’ the same 3 books over and over. Then, to my pride…She really was reading the books! Early literacy is being able to tell the story by looking and describing what is going on in the pictures. At 14 months old, you could give her a book and she would make up a story. (very broken words, yes, but the point is she was so incredibly engaged).
Then, I unexpectedly got pregnant with our little boy. By the time my daughter was 18 months old, I was 7 months pregnant, but I was full-on Dudley Dursley by that point. For the non-Harry Potter fans (books, not movies), that equals roughly the size and shape of a baby whale. At 30 weeks, I had reached the size most people are at 40 weeks- The size I was when my first was born. My back hurt so much I could barely walk. My feet were beginning to fracture under the weight of the small planet that was growing inside me. Having an energetic 18-month old who loved to run, jump, climb, be carried, ‘sit in the floor with me’, had become so exhausting and I just needed to sit down after being at work all day and I was no longer up to dedicating the time and energy to her that I had been previously. I worked full-time as a teacher up until 37 weeks in that condition–in a brand new position, too– and it. was. rough. I needed help. Insert technology here.
By 30 weeks, sweet girl was watching TV. Yep, I gave in. Then, I downloaded ABCMouse.com because I had seen it advertised on PBS. I was still trying hard to make sure that anything she saw on TV was wholesome and educational. It advertised that it was books in an app that kids could choose from and it would encourage early literacy and love for books. Well, let me just say that it is a pretty great app as far as they go. It’s definitely worth the subscription fee, except… It was the Pandora’s box for my family.
Slowly, the ability to sit in the floor and engage with a book began to fade. She preferred to be able to instantly have that entertainment without having to work for it. She found my Netflix app and could navigate it without any effort. Suddenly, she’s gazing like a zombie at idiotic shows that have no educational value. I let it slide because I knew that as soon as I had that baby, I’d be able to physically move and engage her again.
After I birthed my dwarf planet, (little Dude was 11.1 at birth. Yeah. I know. I mean. Yeah.) I discovered a type of busy that I didn’t know existed. My bright baby girl slipped deeper into iPad land. Just watch this while I nurse your brother back to sleep. Here, watch this so I can cook dinner quickly while your brother naps.
I have become on of those…. I am working hard now to fix this though. I knew it had become a problem, but now is the time to correct it…while they are young and I still can!
Tomorrow is Saturday. What a great way to start. Let’s get back to the LAND and set our souls free. See ya on the homestead tomorrow!