Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Love Hate

I'm having a love/hate relationship with the girls and their technology right now.

Generally speaking, I feel like they do ok with their technology. They have a decent balance of playing games, texting (mostly me and each other, on wifi), playing music, and watching favorite shows. I haven't found any searches, texts, or anything else that indicates they're finding things they shouldn't, and they aren't on their devices all day. They play plenty on their own. Their favorite app is a series called "My Town", which is basically a virtual dollhouse or a "Sims for kids". You have these people, and you move them around. They don't talk - they don't move on their own. You create your own imaginative story.

Even in the car, when they pretty much have free reign to do whatever they want, they spend a lot of time coloring, writing, or listening to audiobooks. We're on a huge Harry Potter kick right and are finishing up listening to book 6.

They relinquish them easily at night or whenever we ask (they charge in our room overnight so they aren't tempted). Occasionally I'll let someone listen to an audiobook if they're struggling to fall asleep, but then I'll collect them.

So when I hear horror stories about YouTube, or how kids are obsessed, or how their behavior nosedives, I thank our lucky stars that, somehow, our kids seem to have a decent relationship. Maybe it's our doing, maybe it's because they have more free time, maybe it's luck, maybe it's all of those in various percentages, but we're lucky.

Yet STILL, I wind up hating it sometimes.

I hate when the charges don't match up. Madison's (less than year old) iPod is dying faster and faster, but Reagan's hand me down iPhone (admittedly a really nice one) lives much longer. No matter what settings we adjust, Reagan's kindle screen doesn't turn off, so her battery runs out crazy fast, AND it's doing the whole Kindle-charging-port-getting-loose thing.

I hate the wifi issues. The girls don't NEED them in the car, but generally speaking, especially when we're on long trips, they LIKE them in the car. And (obviously) we don't have Wifi in the car right now. Do we need it? No, we can download or play offline, but there's always some sort of issue that needs addressing, and while I'm driving is not the time to do it.

But my biggest issue with my girls and technology? Other people's handling of it.

For instance, my girls are generally not allowed their technology when they're with their friends. Sometimes, I'll let it slide, but most of the time it's the rule I hold firm to. If you are with your friends, BE WITH YOUR FRIENDS. If Reagan is hanging out, killing time while Madison's with HER friends, that's different, and vice versa. Madison gets to bring her iPod and Kindle to dance when she has an hour to kill once a week. I know a couple of her friends will be there, but it's not always a guarantee, and I'm ok with it. I mean, I bring my phone when I have to sit in the waiting room for an hour.

But there's a girl who always has her tablet. Always, always, always. It is loaded with games, and when it's out (and it's always out), the rest of the girls can't help themselves. They're drawn to the lure, and it ends up being one girl playing (sometimes the owner, sometimes another), which five or six girls end up watching. It's not MY kid, or my tablet, so I can't take it away, and if I remove my kid, I'm removing her from her friends, who are all clustered together. It's infuriating.

Then there are the kids who (sanctioned or unsanctioned, and I'm guessing the latter) are super blase about security. Madison admitted that most of her friends know her unlock codes. She said they all know each other's codes, because "it's just easier" and "it's really mean to tell your friends you can't tell them!". I mean, they're averaging 8, all the devices are extremely monitored, and they're all good kids so I don't see a huge risk, but I still HATE that the peer pressure starts this young to just totally ignore the "don't give out codes or passwords" rule.

Maybe my biggest concern is that as they get older, my well balanced kids will slip. And there's nothing I can do but keep making sure that I give them all the tools to be successful.

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