Tuesday, June 08, 2010



I've had technology thoughts on my brain for quite awhile now. Not about how savvy everything is, because that I am fully aware of. But more so, what it's doing to my children.
Maybe yours, too?

Recently Brian and I watched an episode of "CRIMINAL MINDS," where the unsub was someone prying on women from a social networking site. Naturally there is more to it, and not at all like real life. (Well, it could be, but if you like that show and haven't caught up on your DVR lists, I don't want to ruin it for you.) What really got me thinking about this particular episode, was when one of the agents said to the interviewee, "I don't have email."

Made me think.

The other day as I was making the drive home from old town to new town, my brain told me something that made me then think, "I need to tell Brian before I forget to get that.."

As I picked up my cell phone, I stopped.

I'm going to call Brian right then and there in the car just because I thought of something to tell him? So I have to do it right then and there?

That's the issue.

Everything is ON DEMAND.

I don't do anything to help my short term memory house, if everytime I think of something to tell someone, I pick up the cell and tell them. I truly believe that this on demand stuff is impacting our short term memory.

The difference is, for so many of us, we didn't have all this technology growing up. Do I think it's amazing and fantastic and useful? Of course. Do I think it's made many people lazy lards? Of course.

With everything at a touch of a button, or a click of a wireless mouse, you really don't have to wait to tell anyone anything that you are thinking of.

In fact, there is no waiting with anything relating to the world of technology. Take TV Satellite/Cable. We can now record TV shows. Kids have over 15 channels dedicated solely to cartoons, and if they miss one, or miss a part of it, because, gasp, Mom was asking them a question, all they have to do is rewind the show.

No waiting.

No patience.

All on demand.

Could I live without technology? Maybe-as long as all my friends were living without it too-

My fear isn't what I'm doing to my brain, more it's what technology and parents are doing to their children. You cannot blame technology for this though. It's our job to control it. It's our job to make them write their friend a real letter snail style.

It's our job to allow them to be a part of the technology world, but to also guide them with certain ways we had while growing up. After all, why should you be "worried," about deleting all the DORA THE EXPLORER shows recorded on the DVR? Are you afraid you'll upset your child to no avail? If so, then it's time to turn off the technology button-yours.

It hit me last night.

Brian and I know what it's like to have to change a TV channel by getting off our asses and turning a knob. We remember that Saturday morning cartoons were just that, Saturday morning cartoons. When they were over, they were over and you moved on with your day.
We didn't have instant game systems (before Gameboy) where you could walk around with your wireless hand held Nintendo DSI as you picked up the clothes in your bedroom.

We had, I feel, a pretty good balance.

For us, we remember "what it was like." We can appreciate it.

But for our children, they don't know what it's like. But it's up to us, as parents, to teach them how to appreciate what technology can give to them. Along with teaching them the "dangers" of abusing the power of technology.

Could I live without my email? I would wonder. It sounds refreshing to think about. To remove facebook, to remove email access. To notify anyone that if they want to chat with me on an instant, that they have to call me, or write me a letter. Do not text me, for my cellphone is only used for emergency purposes only. It would be an interesting project to attempt and write about. Only you wouldn't hear how it's going until it's all over, because I wouldn't be blogging. It would be transposed on paper, the old school way.

But before I start neglecting myself with all of this, because remember, I grew up without it, and whereas I admit I abuse the power of technology, I do remember what it's like not to have it. When my cell phone breaks and I have to wait a few weeks to get a new one, it might suck and I'll complain for the first few days, but then it will be okay. It's just something that takes getting used to.

Back to that Patience factor.



Just because technology gives us the ability to phone someone the minute a thought pops into our brain, does not mean we have to use it. Just because technology gives us the ability to record all our favorite shows, so that we don't miss them and have to wait until over the summer for the reruns, doesn't mean we have to use the features of the DVR.

Technology is there.

But it doesn't mean we have to let it take over our lives-especially when it comes to young children-

Yes, it is extremely important that they learn about it, to be a part of it somehow, because that is the world. But in a manner that they'll learn, in time, to appreciate.

Because summer has just started for my boys, today being the first official day of summer break, I'm going to try a little summer experiment on them.

I plan on deleting all their pre-recorded shows, and any shows set up for the future.

I plan on limiting their TV time, along with limiting what types of shows they can watch.
It's so funny that many of our parents never allowed us to watch "THREE'S COMPANY," as children, and yet some of the cartoons are far more out there, bizarre and off kilter than that show could ever be.

So I am going to teach my children how to appreciate TV, Internet, phones, technology.

If they miss the show they like. Oh well. Go outside and play. It'll be on again.

Is this going to be easy? Nope.

After all, every time I take a picture of them, they immediately want to "See the image on screen of the camera. There isn't any waiting to see whether or not your pictures turned out good or not. Now, when you have a picture taken that you think looks bad, POOF! It's deleted.

Course, that might not be that bad of a thing.

Technology is a wonderful tool. It's moved along so much it's hard to fathom. But I fear that with this new sense of power, it's also stunting our youth and their short term memory. It's not teaching them patience, or appreciation.

My closest friend grew up without a TV in their house. It wasn't until her and her sister were a senior and sophomore in HS, that their parents purchased one. Guess what? They are extremely successful. Yes, they do have a TV, cell phone, Ipad, Mac and IPhone, but they remember.
They appreciate it.

They are far more "worldly" because of what their parents did for them. Despite the fact that all their friends families had TVs and VCR.

Now obviously I'm not going to go outside, remove the satellite and put up rabbit ears.
But I am going to control how much technology is in my boys lives.

They are not going to like it, in the beginning, but just like my emotions when it came to being without a cellphone for a few weeks, they'll eventually adapt. They will learn. They will be given a taste of the past, but with a wonderful opportunity to understand and appreciate the technology that they have been blessed to grow up with.

We'll treat the computer as an encyclopedia. To keep them in tuned to technology. It won't be used for online videogames. (Sorry Webkinz, I will miss you as well.)

We will allow them to play XBOX, but for a set amount of time.

We will show them by our own example, as best as we can that it's okay not to use technology.

I know my brain needs to improve on it's memory, and the best way to do that is to not pick up my cell phone and call or text someone the minute I think of something.

Just imagine what it's doing to our children's brains, who have had this stuff swarming around them in tall towers since before conception.

It can be done.
It will be done.

My boys might not be happy.

I may ruin their summer.

But I would hope that through this project, that someday, they'll appreciate their parents teaching them that just because technology life is so a part of their life, so is appreciation, and patience.

After all, The "WIZARD OF OZ," appeared on TV once a year. You didn't catch it, you waited til next year. When that next year came, you appreciated it even more, to have the opportunity to be able to watch it on your parents new color tv.

You also learned patience.

That, my friends, is the goal for this household.

To appreciate technology but to teach them that waiting for things is perfectly fine. In fact, they may realize how much more exciting it is.

All because it wasn't right there at a touch of a remote.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have someone to text.

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