With summer in full swing, the biggest complaint I hear from other parents is that their kids just want to play on the computer all day. Now, it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of fitness and getting kids outside. Not only is the physical release of energy paramount to the happiness of a child, but sunshine is literally a miracle drug that improves our minds, bodies, and overall health. So don’t get me wrong, I am with you on this. It would be nice if kids were like we were. I remember leaving my house around sun up on a hand-me-down bicycle, grabbing a few bananas in my backpack and meeting up with different friends all day and not coming back home until the street lights came on.
I remember playing football with the neighborhood kids, riding our skateboards around town and daring each other to jump off a bigger and bigger set of stairs and, I remember the physical tests we would put each other through when we would disagree with each other and find an open field to wrestle until one of us called “uncle.”
It’s not that times please don’t exist anymore, but times have changed whether we like it or not. Granted I still think playing with friends and physical fitness is paramount to a child’s development, we also have to involve with the times and that includes technology.
When I child is young they still have a very abstract way of thinking. Their problem solving and critical thinking is still at an all-time high and they are able to figure out and solve problems in a unique” outside of the box” way. The key here is balance. Depriving our child from engaging in technology is really clipping their wings. My wife frequently recants stories and now she was grounded from computer time, and she and her parents now look back and laugh as she has been able to create multiple businesses revolving around the Internet.
In fact, as much as I post pictures of me swinging around my latest fitness toy, I am spending an equal amount of time updating this very website you are reading right now. There are days where I practically force my daughter to join me on a walk, and we play outside, make up fun games, and get in our exercise together here and there. In contrast, many days, especially raining ones are spent inside playing on the computer.
Sure there is a limit on the amount of time she can spend on the computer, but there are very few things we limit when it comes to her learning about new technology. Technology moves very fast and I wonder how some children will make it in this text savvy world when they are not familiar with computers at all. At eight years old my daughter has written and published articles on this very blog, and has expressed interest in starting her own one day. Whether she does something in the field of computers, like her mother, or not the key is not to limit the possibilities.
That being said, just as much as I like to encourage going outside and being active, I also think it is important to encourage learning and making the distinction between numbing your mind with technology and enriching it.