In an article at Mamapedia, Dave Room, of Heal Our World, Heal Ourselves has posted a piece titled, “Are Lil Wayne, Zombies and Minecraft Raising Your Children?”
Having checked out Dave’s website, I’m pretty sure he’s a good guy with pure intentions, so I’m going to ignore the wholly unsubstantiated statistic about Latino and black kids (true or not, there is no source quoted and there really is no relevance to the content anyway) andhope this wasn’t intended to offend.
The article itself asserts that technology is changing the wiring of our kids’ brains and making our kids more violent, foul-mouthed and immoral.
On the surface, I guess I’d agree. A little bit. No… not really, now that I’ve begun to think about it in the context of my kids.
Does technology affect our kids’ developing brains? ABSOLUTELY.
Do violent video games and music with foul, degrading lyrics have a negative effect on our kids? In my opinion, WITHOUT QUESTION.
Is excessive screen time bad for our little ones? Excessive ANYTHING is bad for our kids.
I guess what I am saying is that this article deals too much in absolutes. It deals in blacks and whites (in more ways than one, clearly). It assumes that parents are either going to be The Bradys or they’re the Octomom.
Life isn’t like that!
Of course there are days when my kids watch way more TV that is good for them (appallingly too much, sometimes). Is it every day? Not a chance. They also do sport, play with friends and go to school. Do they listen to gangsta rap? Hell, no. Know why? Because their playlists are monitored by me. Sure, they ask to download songs their friends are listening to, with lyrics that are less than wonderful. Mostly, I allow them to get them anyway. It opens a window to talk about the incredible power of words and how we have the choice to use creative and interesting words to weave together magical stories or throw together really ugly ones and show ourselves to be ugly people. By facing the real world, we have the chance to have discussions about how much we value ourselves and how our words are the clothes of our character. Miss M certainly didn’t start yelling, “F*&k you!” after she heard the Cee Lo Green song at a friend’s house. She came to me and giggled and told me what she had heard and we talked about it. My kids know curse words exist but they also know that they’re not going to try include them in their day-to-day language. They don’t swear because we parent them, we guide them, we show them the world and help them to navigate through it. Hiding technology from them isn’t going to teach them anything.
Minecraft has given my kids an intensely creative outlet. I’ve heard that there’s a violent side to the game but I certainly haven’t seen it when my kids play. They are far more interested in what they can create that what they can destroy. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they have no idea that you CAN destroy anything. Miss M and Little Man get together with their friends (the one situation, mind you, that they adore each other’s company!) and strategise. They make alliances and they relish in the deeply creative imaginary worlds they are creating. As far as I see it, this is a wonderfully positive experience for them. On the flip-side, (and I have to be absolutely honest) when time’s up and I send them outside to play, withdrawal does set in. If I let them, they would be glued to their iPods all day.
Tonight, my daughter spent two hours on the computer. She is ten. gasp
She wasn’t looking at porn or killing zombies. Nor was she watching lewd music videos. She was immersed in the challenge of achieving a higher personal score on….MATHLETICS.
Screen time ain’t all bad.
Sure, it has the potential to be very dangerous, if parents don’t supervise, monitor and guide their kids. The thing is, this isn’t unique to screen time.
Kids left unsupervised at a swimming pool could drown. Kids left unsupervised in a shopping centre could be abducted. Kids left unsupervised at home could burn the house down.
The issue here is not technology. The issue is parenting.
White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Smurf for that matter – we all need to guide our kids, teach them about this world and all the opportunities out there as well as the dangers. We need to educate them, build up their self-worth enough that they CHOOSE to raise themselves above the lowest common denominator.
It’s our job to raise our kids.
If they grow up to be chauvinistic, racist, bigoted, foul-mouthed, abusive, aggressive adults… let’s just say, it wasn’t the TV that did it. Mmmkay?