I probably should have gone with my gut last Christmas. But I also wanted to fulfill my daughter’s requests for a high tech device. We bought my 6 year old an iPod touch and I have since regretted this decision. In this post I will talk about my regrets and how we’re making it work!
I had my own personal computer at age 8. But I didn’t even have dial up. At first it was just a simple computer I had to code before I could even play a game. But when a kid turns on a device now, the experience is totally different.
I’m sure many moms will read this and think, duh! But I really did not realize the issues I would face when purchasing a mobile device for our first grader.
Our daughter occasionally sees other children with cell phones and has always wanted one of her own. I know she isn’t the only one – kids see our cell phones as toys since they are usually loaded with apps that are educational and fun.
Why I regret buying my kid an iPod
So we ended up getting her the iPod touch and I’ll just get right into why I regret this decision.
- It’s all she wants to do.
- She has been exposed to new YouTube channels that I’m not okay with (mostly because of explicit language).
- I have to give an ELI5 explanation of technology whenever something doesn’t load or work for her device.
- It effects her creativity, in a bad way.
- I cannot ever have 100% control over the device.
I definitely feel like we are making better decisions and she is learning to not be attached to her mobile device. But I have also realized that even adults struggle with this (something I’ll get back to later on the blog).
So after Christmas break, when Jazzy actually had to get back to school, I noticed how dramatic her attachment to her new toy was. So as soon as I realized playing with her iPod is ALL she wanted to do, I started setting real guidelines.
How we’re making it work
- Cut off for iPod use is 8:30pm.Turning in her iPod later than 8:30 is an automatic loss of privilege the next day.Even this may seem too late for some parents, but it’s what works for us right now. We typically are done with dinner at 6pm, which leaves Jazzy about an hour to play and do whatever she wants. Then it’s shower and bedtime. Sometimes that leaves another 30 minutes or so and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way she knows that’s all she has on school nights.
- YouTube Channel subscriptions must be pre-approved.
Jazlynn really likes watching “Let’s Play” type videos where YouTubers play video games and talk about it. There are many of these channels, but they aren’t all safe for the little ears. Jazlynn is subscribed to a couple safe channels I’ve checked out and if she is interested in a new channel, she must let me know about it so I can approve her subscribing. She only views videos from her subscription feed.This is 100% yet, but she’s learned the difference between “related videos” and content she is subscribed to. Jazlynn has her own Google Account so that my YouTube doesn’t get suggestions based on what she watches. The cool part about this is I can always log into her account and see her history of watched videos. She knows I can do this and that’s pretty much enough to keep her from watching a video of which I don’t approve.
- I make a conscious effort to engage her in other activities.
I’ve had trouble in the past with playtime with my daughter. The truth is I’m terrible at pretending and dressing up Barbies. I just feel kind of dumb. As much as I love my daughter, I’d much rather do other things like cook, read, or paint. So to get her involved in other activities that do not include her iPod, I take the time to play other games with her. She loves Monopoly and Yahtzee! We are working our way up to Scrabble (my favorite).
And that’s pretty much it! I must admit this is still a learning experience for me. But I also know that she is part of a whole generation dealing with the same issues. Whether or not you can afford to buy your child their own iPod or computer, the fact is children are exposed to it.
I still regret buying Jazlynn an iPod because she is so young, but I also see it as an opportunity for her to learn how to deal with it.
As parents, we are responsible for setting up those ground rules. Children don’t have the ability to know how their decisions effect them. Well at least not usually.
Even though part of me is embarrassed to admit all of this, I realize that other parents may be dealing with the same things. Maybe this confession will be something that helps you deal with your child’s screen time. It doesn’t even have to be an iPod – it can be computers, video games, cell phones (teenagers), or just the TV!
How do you keep your kids screen time under control?