If you’re of a certain age, you remember Looney Tunes. Most of us do. Something new had to happen in those cartoons every 7 minutes to keep kids’ attention. Whether it was the anvil falling on the coyote or the rifle exploding in the nimrod’s face, something had to change.
I taught middle school for a decade; I did my time. With the advent of video games, seven minutes is an eternity for a kid’s attention span. The new standard is that something new must happen every 7 SECONDS or they lose interest… Or least it was three years ago, it’s probably even less now.
I can remember a time when we didn’t have video games. I can remember having to grab multiple books from the library because we were leaving on a family road trip and we didn’t have a TV and VCR in the minivan like the Joneses. At least we had a minivan.
My three sons have no memory of a time without personal electronic devices. They can’t comprehend spending hours staring out the side of minivan. What can I do to find a solution to keep my kids interested in more than just birds who are angry or a mouse, his mouse girlfriend and his racecar friends (this one is new and not too terrible)?
Yes, I could be one of those parents who constantly controls how much “screen” time their kids get. But I’m not. It’s exhausting to endlessly “hawk” your kids to make sure they’re not watching the TV, the laptops, their Kindles, the extra smart phone or staring across the backyard into the neighbor’s living room. Sorry, if I don’t live up to your expectations of parenting. We have ground rules and limit their time, but we need more solutions than that. The technology isn’t going anywhere. Unless Skynet does happen, then we’re doomed anyway.
My favorite times as a kid and strangely as an adult are when I am completed disconnected. No phone, no computer, no Wifi, nothing. It’s quiet, calm, tranquil. It’s bliss.
Don’t have a panic attack while you read this on your mobile device/laptop. I’m not saying it’s all evil, but all the time on your device probably isn’t the best for your self-esteem and emotional health. Smarter people have written articles about that stuff.