But the ever-present touchscreens make me incredibly uneasy—probably because they make parenting so easy. There is always one at hand to make restaurants and long drives and air travel much more pleasant. The tablet is the new pacifier.
I agree with Honan’s concluding paragraph that there isn’t a clear-cut answer for appropriate boundaries when it comes to our kids and their usage of iOS devices.
The goal has to be teaching (and then enforcing) moderation and boundaries. Heck, even the most healthy things our kids could be doing — like happily playing sports outside with friends — still needs boundaries and moderation. “When it’s family dinner time, that means it’s time to come inside and stop playing outside.”
This is something that’s been on my mind a lot recently. Every Friday, I eat at the same Mexican restaurant with a group of guys, and for the past several months, there’s been a family there at the same time pretty regularly. The parents (and usually a grandparent) sit and talk, enjoying their meal where the two kids are glued to iPad minis, usually watching a movie.
This is going to come off as judgmental, but this scene drives me insane. Our kids share an iPad mini, but they don’t use it much, and we certainly wouldn’t allow them to do so in a restaurant to keep them quiet.
Like Shawn, I don’t want my kids to feel shameful about using technology, but I do want them to know there are boundaries when it comes to such things, especially when it comes to dealing with other people.
All that aside, the most guilt-inducing part of these articles? The fact that I screw this sort of thing up all the time.