03 Feb Technology: Friend or Foe?
I am a huge TV watcher…..always have been and probably always will be.
My husband designs video games for a living and could easily be described as a “techie”. We have all the latest gadgets and gizmos: PCs, several laptops, iPads, tablets….you name it, we have it. So it shouldn’t come as such a shock that our technology preoccupation has created a bit of a monster.
Like many kids these days, my two-and-a-half-year-old son is completely and utterly obsessed with television and the iPad. Despite my attempts at setting limits and boundaries around the time he spends on these devices, his insatiable desire for technology is at the root of many of his meltdowns and tantrums. One more show…..one more game on the iPad….one more song on my phone….the requests never end!!!
At first, I swear, I was quite resistant to the idea of introducing technology to my son at such a young age.
I felt that I should be capable of doing it all, that I could be the ultimate entertainer, teacher, and distracter. But during those witching hours when I was at my wits end, anxiously awaiting my husband’s return from work, television was my saviour, my knight in shining armour. I would put my son in his Exersaucer, pop in a Baby Einstein DVD and take a moment to just….breathe. I felt incredibly guilty about using the television as a babysitter, but looking back I realize that I was in survival mode and television was an instrument that I used to maintain my sanity.
Then came the iPad.
I remember my husband was so excited to introduce it to my son. He saw it as a valuable tool, one that could educate and enhance my son’s life. I was hesitant and I felt guilty every time we used it. My fear was that the iPad would become a way of pacifying my son and this felt extremely unsettling to me. I feared that I was going to become one of “those parents” who could not get through a meal at a restaurant without shoving a phone or tablet in my child’s face. I somehow associated the use of technology in my child’s life with being a failure as a parent. But I have finally come to the realization that this is absolutely not the case.
Today, I see technology as just another tool in my toolbox.
And even though I have gained a tremendous amount of self-confidence as a mother and am a lot more forgiving of myself, I realize that there are days when I continue to be in survival mode. And that’s okay. I’ve learned to do what works and there is nothing shameful about that! Essentially, I am one of “those parents” that I judged so harshly…(Please forgive me!)
Technology has gotten me through haircuts, plane rides, brunches and fevers. It has also helped my son master his letters and numbers and has positively contributed to his hand-eye coordination. I’ve decided to embrace technology in moderation, rather than fight against it….. especially if it allows me to enjoy my meal at a restaurant in peace!!