Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inside, Outside

I never thought I'd be quoting Stevie Nicks in a post on motherhood, but a recent comment to AAP got me thinking. Here's what she had to say:

"I believe that computers have taken over the world. I believe that they have in many ways ruined our children. I believe that kids used to love to go out and play. I believe that social graces are gone because manners are gone because all people do is sit around and text. I think it's obnoxious."

Now, I don't necessarily share her view because I'm a massive fan of social networking technologies - I blog, I twitter, I facebook. But I'd be lying if I said I'd never worried about how my children will interact once they're teenagers and beyond...because communication has changed so much, and so quickly, since I was a kid.

Until I was a teenager, I lived in a town of 300 people. My sister and I spent 90% of our childhood outside, playing or exploring the nearby streets. We had imagination as our closest companion, watched tv rarely, and didn't even have a phone in the house.

The stark reality is that things will be very different for my girls. Kids are getting mobiles younger and younger and becoming increasingly dependent on technology for social connections. I don't want to find that my decision to limit my daughters' use of, say, mobiles or facebook, means they are excluded from their peers.

But, at the same time, I want them to experience the joy of physical activity and imagination. I want them to make their own fun, not have it served up on a plate. I don't want to find myself buying them computerised fitness play equipment when they're in primary school because they're so used to living in a digital world.

It's something that, to be honest, scares me just a little...and I can only hope my husband and I make the right decisions when the time comes. Does it worry you, too?


Rowe said...

I think as parents we are always challenged to monitor what our kids do. I'm sure when radio and television first came out (before even I was born) parents then were concerned what it would do to their children. I'm guessing if teenagers and younger kids today are using the net etc. then it's a fair indicator our kids will be adopting whatever next technology is available when they are old enough to be aware of it and want to use it too. Good parenting will always produce healthy and well adjusted kids, so if you are getting that right you should have nothing to fear. Check out blog re: 5 tips on parenting. Simple, straightforward, not full of hot air, she gave up her career as a lawyer to be a fulltime mum.

Fiona Dixon said...

Im a huge fan of the net and social networking too but also worry about my kids. I grew up in a small town and didn't have a computer till midway through high school and the net wasn't even connected to it!! SHOCK HORROR if that was a teenager today. I agree with the top commnet it comes down to how you parent your kids. I do worry that if given to much access to computers, eletronic games and tv that our kids wont have a very good idea of how to play and make up their own games.
Hopefully I make the correct choices and my children learn how to balance and do both.