Digital Games and your Children

Jordanstoddard - posted on 09/28/2015 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Good evening Mothers,

My name is Jordan, I am an artist and computer nerd. I wondered if we could start a conversation about technology, and how it plays into the lives of children.

When making the observation of how technology is being inundated into everyday life, flooded with useless apps and littered with hidden fees, I started to wonder why??? I know we "adults" use technology for many practical things, but do the children?

I never thought to ask how these apps might impact children and their social behavior, or how children with special needs might react, or any of the unknowns that come with being a child in today's world... You should know I am not a parent. (yet) one day...

I recently brought an app I designed to Comic Con in Salt Lake City, where I manned a booth and spoke to many different parents, some teachers, a doctor or two and a few comic book characters. This app is not your typical app it takes interacting with the tablet down quite a few pegs. In fact it promotes being in the real world and using the creative mind.

I thought this app was just going to be silly. You know, kids having fun and adults seeing a way they can use it as a family. Which they did, but there were those who saw a lot more. Which I will share with you as this discussion takes place.

I would like to first talk about this topic. Because as far as topics go this one is bigger than meets the eye, and when you mix in a dash of something you never before considered, the topic can almost become unreal. Which is what happened to me during my silly beta test at Comic Con.

Perhaps to open the discussion I could ask questions, however please share ANYTHING you feel to be valid.

How do you feel about your children using a tablet/smartphone?
How do you feel about what your child thinks a tablet/smartphone is to them emotionally?
What do you notice about having smart devices around vs. not having them around?

I am really looking forward to your feedback on this. I believe this is something that can move in a very positive direction as a physical action if more people understood the desired results.

-Jordan

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Ev - posted on 09/29/2015

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1) How do you feel about your children using a tablet/smartphone?

I do not think it is necessary for children to have a tablet or smartphone of their own until they are much older (teen) and can make the payments themselves and understand the responsibilities that go with it. Too many are given phones when young and that is why they are so into tech and apps. They think the world revolves around knowing everything their friends are doing and socializing on things such as Facebook.
To a kid its a status symbol and they want it because their friends do.

2)How do you feel about what your child thinks a tablet/smartphone is to them emotionally?

It undermines their ability to learn how to deal with emotions. Its a thing. It does not interact with them at all on a human level. Tech does not have emotions at all. It does not allow them the ability to learn real social manners and even common manners we should learn as people. It detaches us from society. Its like if we can not use an app or a social program like Facebook, then all heck breaks loose.

3)What do you notice about having smart devices around vs. not having them around?

I grew up with the last generation that was not raised with these kinds of tech devices. We had to make up things to play in our heads and use our imaginations to actually enjoy things. We were the generation that saw the start of cell phones, video games and such. We were the generation that had the first personal home computers, video tape machines and DVD machines. We did not have it if it was not affordable. We had to make do with what we had. Children who have the devices are apt not to understand how to handle certain situations without the use of the tablets or phones we have now. They have no notion of what an imagination is or how to use it. They can not comprehend how to be creative without it. They are also so dependent on it for entertainment and other things. My own kids grew up with the advancements of all this tech and did not have even a basic cell phone until they were a lot older by their own choice. I also did not go out and buy all the electronic toys that did all the playing for them. I let them use their imagination to play with their toys and each other. And today both my kids have great creative, imaginative minds. I wonder how many people can truly say that about their kids.

Also studies show that exposure to tech too early causes the nuerons in a child's brain not to develop the way it is supposed to do so. That being exposed to too much tech or even TV causes them to be dependent on that to get any kind of reaction going or to feel something. Kids need just simple toys such as blocks, imitations of kitchen things, dolls, toy cars and trucks, Fisher Price people and toys, other building kits like those gear things, and books. They need interaction with each other to develop strong minds in the areas of problem solving, choice making, and coming to conclusions about the world around them. EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD is the only true way a child can develop in this world and not totally dependent on technology to do so.

I am not saying technology does not have a place in this world as it is fast becoming te way a lot of things are done from education to health care to business. But it needs to be taught the right way and for the right reasons to be used. Kids are just handed that smart phone or tablet as a little one to keep the busy or to shush them. Older kids are given them so parents either do not have to listen to the child cry about not having it because their friends do or just to shush them up without the proper instruction of their use and proper supervision by the parents. I am not saying all parents are this way but a majority are. Basically if it keeps the kids happy then the parents are happy and that is not how this world works.

So, no I do not feel another so called amazing app is the way to help kids learn technology and such.

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Ev - posted on 10/01/2015

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Jordon,

I am glad to have had your response to my posting. I am glad to know you are in agreement with all my points.

I am just disgusted that a lot of people (parents or relatives) who are involved in the lives of children this day and age seem to think that to give in to a child's whims is to keep them happy and at the same time they are not teaching them to learn to wait for things, that they can have anything anytime they want how they want, the world owes them, and the list could go on. I see people give in with their kids for anything not just tech stuff to keep them quiet instead of interacting with said kids and teaching them how to wait even if it means a fit or three.

As I said my kids are part of the generation that watched this tech grow so swiftly into what it is today. Neither of them ever had electronic toys until after my oldest was 12 and even then only a few things. The rest of the toys and gadgets were things they ad to actually manipulate themselves and use their imaginations with. Some might also be surprised that none of my two kids wanted a cell phone when it started to be a growing trend that kids were getting into having a cell phone or smart phone. They never felt like they were missing a thing. It was almost like when I was a kid and all we had was the land line and one phone per house and in some cases two lines but you had to be rich to afford that. i was proud where this was going. My grandchildren are getting the best of both worlds. They are learning to use their imaginations while at the same time are exposed to video games to phones (their dad is a computer guy) and within certain amounts of time not constantly glued to it. So I can proudly say that at least 2 more generations of my family are going to be similar to me as a child.

As for your questions and I will just quote them:

"Do you have any recommendations for anyone who runs into the issues you listed? Such as using a tablet as a babysitter?
or other constructive ways to accomplish this same task and not just give them the tablet?"

There is only one real recommendation I can give. INVOLVEMENT. Be involved with the child or children. Give them as much one on one time as possible. Make sure that they have all sorts of materials to play with not only toy blocks, kitchen sets, dolls and so on but real stuff to from the kitchen like big bowls and spoons, large boxes to play in or build with, all sorts of the plastic containers that chips and stuff comes in to play with and stack. Give them if they are old enough pencils, pens, crayons, makers and other things to do art with. Let them create it from scratch--no cookie cutter stuff or prints outs unless the craft calls for a shape to it. There is just so much out there to do with kids its unreal. You do not have to go buy all the materials either. Look around the house or look at yard sales or second hand places. You would be surprised what you could find. Also make a dressup place too. Put in adult clothing of all sorts for them to put on and add hats, purses, old brief cases, wallets, shoes, and other things. Kids eat this up.

As for the tablet thing. Limit the time. Set a time during the day and allow them to play with tech stuff so they can become familiar with it but do not let them become dependent on it. It does not allow the same growth in the brain that one on one play and imaginative play does. It would eventually take the table to get any reaction out of a kid if that is all they got. The same can be applied to TV, computer, video games, phones and so on.

KIds do not need to live on those things at all. Its taking away their learning of proper manners, how to handle situations (problem solving, getting along with others), and social interaction. And imaginative play gives them those things. Especially in social interaction.

I was a preschool teacher for over 10 years. I worked with children as young as infants up to age of five but my age of expertise became the twos. I also have been taking courses for early childhood education for a time and still have to finish. That was where I learned a lot of what I put here but most of it came from common sense, having a mother who did those very things with me and my sister and applying that same thing to my own kids.

Jordanstoddard - posted on 09/29/2015

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Evelyn -

Thank you for your feedback, I couldn't agree more. I was also in the generation of children who had to imagine, pretend and INjoy ;)

I have played my fair share of video games and came to understand how to use computers as a tool in my spare time. These days it makes me sick to think about most of the activities we involve ourselves in with these devices.

That being said, I have looked at it from a creative perspective, and I do believe there are ways to have these things be around, but not be the focus. When we come together and discuss how this is impacting our lives we can unite and forge something together.

Finding a way to do this is important, and you pointed out some of the key reasons why. When we observe the behavioral impact of interacting with digital devices as a negative, it should be addressed. Because it doesn't have to be this way.

Bringing back the imagination and traditional socializing is crucial to this.

Do you have any recommendations for anyone who runs into the issues you listed? Such as using a tablet as a babysitter?
or other constructive ways to accomplish this same task and not just give them the tablet?

Again, thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it greatly.

-Jordan

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