I sometimes wonder if my kids are behind when it comes to technology. And then I immediately think of how ludicrous that thought is. Or is it?
Rich and I both grew up without computers. My family didn't own a VCR until I was in high school and I can't even remember when my parents finally had cable tv installed because I had long since moved out by that point. As children, our parents threw us outside and that's where we stayed for the day. We had to learn how to keep ourselves entertained.
My kids aren't perfect and we do hear, "I'm bored." Last week, I asked Rich if he remembers saying that to his parents. "I'm bored." Because I can't ever remember saying it. I asked my mom if my brothers and I said that to her and she said no. When my kids complain of boredom, I'm one of those annoying parents who has a story. You want to hear what's boring. I'll tell you what's boring. Try being stuck in the back of a station wagon for three days as your family drives from Massachusetts to Florida. I had a walkman and that was it. What's a walkman? you ask. Google it.
Rich has had his iPhone for just over a year now. I've had mine since Christmas. Up until July, we had never handed over our phones to the girls in order to keep them entertained. Do I want an award for that? No. That's just the way we've decided to parent. And there are a few different reasons for that. I honestly don't think my kids need to use the phones for entertainment on a regular basis and that's partly because of how I grew up. In addition, it's easier for me if they aren't using my phone. There are two phones (or sometimes only one) and three kids. You do the math.
A few months ago, I brought Anna to a classmate's birthday party that was held at a bowling alley. After the kids bowled, they received some tokens to use in the arcade. One of Anna's friends introduced her (and me) to Fruit Ninja. A few days later, I downloaded the free app to my phone but I didn't tell the girls about it. I was saving it. Sometimes Anna needs to do things she doesn't want to do (medical stuff) and I thought that a new distraction would help if she was having a rough day. This is why I try not to judge other parents. To most, Anna's condition is invisible. Spina bifida has taught me that I don't know the details of other families and that looks can be very deceiving.
So let's clear up a myth: Having triplets does not mean that it's easier for us because they keep each other entertained. If anything, they spend an equal amount of time arguing as they do playing together. So no, it's not easier for us. In fact, I don't think any parent has the right to say that another parent has it easier. And it most definitely shouldn't be used as a reason behind a parenting decision.
There are only two things my kids do on my phone: scroll through my photos and play Fruit Ninja. During this past month, I would say that they've each spent a max of two hours using my phone. That's it. I've been hesitant to load educational apps because I prefer for them to read from actual books and to use math workbooks. They all need to work on writing numbers. It's easier for me to hand out three books than to monitor screen time. And, it's MY phone. Not theirs.
At the end of the day, no matter what I decide to do with my phone, it's a phone and my kids need to learn how to use it as a phone. It's so odd sometimes to think of how much the world has changed. The house I grew up in had a rotary dial phone. It will be interesting to see what my views are and how different (or not) life will be in the future.
Parenting - is there an app for that? (There probably is.)