Probably the loudest part of our day is after dinner; the big boys clean the kitchen in the evening and they like to crank the music loud and sing along while they work.
As these guys are getting older I’m increasingly finding the topic of media technology is a key issue that we have to discern and navigate as a family. How do we best establish the kids in good patterns of positive exposure and self-control, while restraining the negative aspects of a media saturated culture?
These are big questions and ones we can’t afford to back down from as our kids are going to live in an ultra-high-tech environment (and already do in many ways).
Anyway, one trend I am noticing amongst parents who are eager to activate unmotivated kids, or distract irritating kids, or advance bright kids is to turn to the computer.
There are incredible opportunities in these little boxes: brilliant coding courses for kids, excellent online math curriculums, perky phonics games, cool video editing tools, ad infinitum. It’s amazing and I am thankful for the good opportunities found on the web.
But, one of the questions I’m coming up against is this: what real things do we lose when we exchange real life experience, learning, exposure, and pacing with computer/online opportunities?
What are we exchanging when building up a primarily virtual world/experience?
There’s no doubt that learning is going on when the kids tap away at the computer, and I believe that a lot of it is excellent content, but I wonder: what does this ‘untouchable’ work do to our bodies and our souls as we sit and stare at the glow?
What’s a ratio of online/offline life that we can sustain healthfully?
Holding a pencil is an almost foreign experience these days; writing on paper is sort of cute and mildly archaic.
But, it’s real.
As I’ve been mulling through this stimulating blog, thinking of developing the kids’ passions, I’m struck with how easily I think of computer solutions to their developmental goals.
My knee-jerk response to instantly turn to the computer for solutions awakens a sort of disgust that I’ve already given in too much to this potential Trojan horse.
What of waiting? Of pausing, or discussing, or praying before ‘Googling’? (Random P.S. I use Startpage.com to keep my online searches private.)
I want to tread wisely, and focus on building up a repertoire of real life experience that will fill the children with substance, presence and foundational skills that will not fail them in the real, interactive, life-paced world that their body touches.
Being a hot shot online/on the computer does not make a person more patient, or more adept at growing a garden, or washing the dishes for that matter.
And really, it’s all about the dishes.