At the grand old age of 31 I find myself saying “it wasn’t like that in my day”, “in my day?” anyone would think I grew up with wireless and a ration book? I have always had an older head on my shoulders, some might say boring, but i’m happy to admit that id rather stay in with a blanket and hot drink than go out in my underpants, usually in the pouring rain and dance on some sticky carpet with a drunken idiot trying to bump and grind against my uninterested ass.
I often think back to before modern technology where mobile phones only had one ringtone and their brick shaped length spanned the whole side of your face. Gone are the days where a tablet was something that you took if you had a head ache or the word app was shorthand for appointment. In a recent survey it stated that children from as young as age 4 to 14 are hooked on their mobile phones and computers.
I have always had very strong opinions about limiting the use of technology as Ernest grows up but I do fear that peer pressure and society will mean I will subject him to unnecessary ridicule, not just because he’s ginger ( that’s a whole other story), but because I want him to know the importance of his surroundings. I was always so interested in learning when I was younger and would often come home and excitedly relay onto my mum what id learnt that day about the Egyptians or Tudors and Stuarts where I’d read my facts from a book not Wikipedia.
I was a 90’s child so I didn’t even experience using a computer until I was in secondary school and the only thing I needed in my life at Juniors school was an deluge of pogs and kinis. Anything could be settled with a good old game of rock, paper, scissors and people generally had a conversation face to face and not virtually. We were the masters of imagination and Blue Peter taught us that a couple of toilet rolls and some glue could recreate Tracy Island. Don’t get me wrong I use all the modern platforms and I enjoy having the ability to just press a button and im speaking with my husband in the north sea, or connecting with people from all walks of life through Instagram.
Most children from a very young age know how to unlock a phone, take pictures and swipe left or right to view them. Children are like a sponge and they will soak up everything around them. Its something they will learn through their inquisitive minds and you really can’t get away from it. We are slowly killing face to face conversations as its much easier just to send a text or use Whatsapp. Am I wrong to want to try and hold onto their youth for just a little bit longer? My mum always used to say that I was glued to the TV and that as soon as I came home from school it was the first thing I would turn on when I got in. This obsession has not left me and I still have to drag myself away from the TV. Just one more episode I say.
I do find that being on my own for long periods of time with a small baby means that in order to get anything done I have to succumb to putting him in front of the TV for a little while. Children get bored easily so you have to take the opportunity when you can. I am learning as a new mother that as much as I want to sit there and play with him all day, its not possible. I cant leave him on the floor rolling around as laying flat after a while is uncomfortable for him and he ends up vomiting everywhere. He doesn’t sit up just yet so I cant leave him in a play pen with some toys and he’s too floppy to sit at a highchair without him face planting the table.
I want to be able to give Ernest the freedom to choose what he wants to do and I would hope that he would choose to explore the amazing county that we live in. Most people would die for a slice of Cornish life and we’re living it every day. I have definitely found that since having a baby I want to explore more and seek out beauty. I love nothing more than finding a quiet spot, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath in.
I know modern technology is probably not something I will need to worry about for a while but its something that constantly plays on my mind. I see the new wave of kids with their pompadour haircuts, high ponytails and chokers and just get taken back to when I was a kid but nowadays they don’t insult each other in person its all cyber bullying and sexting. They are more concerned about how they look on Snapchat and Musically and have confidence by the bucket load.
So am I in a minority to want to shelter Ernest from his future for a little while longer? I’m certainly not damning anyone to hell that encourages using technology or have used it for an easier or quieter life. Everyone has their way of going about things and although in my mind I want something a certain way, it doesn’t mean ill get it. We are already faced with uncertainty after Brexit and now I have to accept the prospect of my child only wanting to go outside to see how many Pokémon’s he can catch and not because he wants to get knee deep in mud or kick a football around. My son is 7 months old so I cant be sure what the future holds and whether he grows up to be an absolute monster.
How can you get the balance right between your child using technology and not? I grew up in a time where none of this existed and im now trying to figure out how im going to teach my child that their self worth is not measured by the amount of virtual friends or likes they have. In the words of Carrie Anne Roberts we are raising the future and no one truly knows how they are going to be in one years time, let alone ten. I can only hope that Ernest will grow up to be a decent person with manners.
I am guilty of using my phone around Ernest a lot to the point where he’s trying to touch it and grab it from me, this is usually after taking an abundance of pictures of him or catching up on my favourite Instamums. I’ve never been technically minded and up until recently I only had a very basic phone until my husband bought me a new one and said enough is enough. When I realised I could go outside, take a picture and put it on Instagram there and then, you’d think id just discovered electricity. It is a wonderful thing to have and we are lucky to be able to have this at our fingertips but I still much prefer the idea of my child growing up reading a book made of paper not plastic. Its how life is evolving and im pretty sure by the time he’s 16 this world will look a whole lot different.
Does anyone have any tips on curbing the interest or use? Or are you currently struggling to get that balance right? I would love to know your thoughts?