I intend to ensure my child will never access a computer outside of the library!
I keep my child so busy he doesn’t have time to desire technology.
I despair that my child likes technology!
I don’t mind that my child likes it; it won’t hurt him.
It’s a technological age; I’m glad my child likes technology!
My philosophy, as of this writing, is this: It’s a technological age; I’m glad my child likes technology! And it’s also this: I sometimes despair my child likes it!
Such conflicting philosophies create a confusing duality for my son when I help him manage his technology time.
You want to learn Photoshop? No problem, enjoy! Show me later what you’ve learned!
You want to play Minecraft? You could be writing! Reading! Playing with an embodied friend! Picking up trash in the neighborhood!
I don’t think computers are inherently bad. Computers can be good, valuable, useful, and productive. No doubt my mindset stems from my first association with a computer: It was at work in the early ‘80s. Computers meant work. So when I see a child at a keyboard, I feel they are working when they could be playing or learning. I sense a missed developmental opportunity.
Children today don’t yet make that association. They see various forms of computers (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, whatever) as fun tools. Tools to communicate—call, write, tweet, post pictures and otherwise share. Tools to play—games, music, movies, and videos. Tools to accomplish goals—make music, create art, achieve a game level, stay in touch with a friend, move forward as a budding entrepreneur.
But for me, seeing a child at a screen mostly prompts a negative visceral reaction. My heart senses missed opportunity. I feel anxiety. I want him to do anything else! But that perspective, I have come to realize, is an artifact from my life’s experiences with computers. It is not my child’s experience with computers. He has grown up into a different world of computers than I.
In my days of yore, we had plenty of time for outdoor play and plenty of kids to play outdoors with. In so many neighborhoods that just isn’t true anymore. Children gravitate toward computers for play, for friendship, for competition, for involvement in the world into which they have been born.
When it’s time to work, they will simply use the same technology tools they played with as children. And life will have a certain flow to them it didn’t have for those of us who were already young adults when computers first expanded our worlds.
What’s your philosophy of technology?