Friday, 12 January 2018

Babies and Technology

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This is something that nearly always ends up becoming a controversial topic between parents amongst themselves and even those who have yet to step into the parenting world. As a member of the BabyCentre UK community, I always come across conversations of worried mothers questioning their own actions in relation to screen time, technology and their babies. Sometimes, the poor mother in question might have things hurled at her for being an irresponsible parent but most of the time I've seen a supportive response.

It's always easy to judge someone else's parenting style, especially if you are not a parent yourself. Before I go into further detail, I have a confession to make, I was judgemental of other parents when I saw their little children with an iPad or a phone in their hands. I was that woman who sat opposite a mother and child thinking, 'How irresponsible of her, so unhealthy, can't she entertain her child with something else,'  but this was before I became a parent myself.

Now when I look back at myself, I laugh with pity at my ignorance. Back then I had no idea how controlling babies truly can be. No matter how many toys and books you shower your child with they will always be interested and want something dangerous or rather whatever they are not allowed. Let's take my 11 month old as an example, she has a good amount of toys and books (prefers books over toys if given the choice) but what is she obsessed with? The sky remote control! So I bought her a toy remote, she wasn't happy. Then I came up with what I thought was a very intelligent solution and dug out an old identical sky remote which didn't work - she was not one bit interested as she wanted the remote in mummy's hands!

Why? Because of two reasons; babies are interested in what you are interested in, whether that's your phone, laptop or the TV remote and she somehow has figured out when she presses a button the TV dances. I always try and limit the time I'm on my phone in front of her as she would go after it and tell me off if I didn't give it to her. Now she has discovered that there's such thing as a laptop ever since I've begun blogging, although I only write posts during her naps, it is always out in sight - so I do let her explore it, switched off.

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The main debate surrounding babies and technology is screen time - the recommended screen time for children under 2 is zero and for over 2 years - 2 hours a day, it'd be a miracle if parents adhered to these guidelines strictly. According to this, I'm already breaking the rules, guess that makes me an irresponsible bad parent because my child watches maybe 15 or 20 minutes in several intervals of PJ Masks (forget cBeebies it's all about the PJ Masks in this household!) a day? When I have to work in the kitchen, I normally bring her with me and tell her what I am doing, keeping her interested as she's at the stage whenever I walk out of the room, the screaming begins.

However, I refuse to bring her in the kitchen when I'm making a spicy curry and chopping onions. She is allowed to freely roam the front room with her toys and books scattered around, with the TV on in the background to which she might pay attention, might not. Lately, I've found myself switching the TV off when I have noticed that her eyes her fixated and she seems mesmerised by it. However, if the TV would not be on in the background I guess this home would be absolutely filthy and we'd all be unhealthy with just eating take aways everyday - so, in my opinion, this little compromise is acceptable.

Parents are always being criticized for their decisions but what bewilders (love that word!) me is that on the news we constantly hear how children should have less screen time and parents should do more. In this day and age, no matter how hard parents may try they end up taking a step back because of schools 'modernising'.

A couple of years ago, when I went to collect my then three-year-old nephew from the nursery, I was shocked to find that he was being taught how to use a laptop! I questioned this and was told that this is how it is going to be from now on. There is absolutely no need for laptops and tablets at the nursery for toddlers! His older brother in primary school was sent home with an iPad to use and now whenever I ask for their homework, I find that it's online so it is done on the laptop and even submitted online.


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Some may argue, this is to save the environment, to use less paper but then why point fingers at parents? Children spend most of their time awake in schools where they are sat in front of screens in most if not all classes. Then they come home whether in the evenings or at the weekend and sit in front of screens in order to complete their homework.

You might be thinking why is she complaining, her baby watches PJ Masks and probably will have her own mobile phone when she's a bit older - I'll make my position clear, yes my child has teeny bit of screen time in order for me to things done around the house, this is not always the case, some days I don't need to switch the TV on at all. No, I am not going to buy her a mobile phone when she's older because I still believe children under 12 do not need their own tablet or mobiles (my brother thinks I'll be biting my tongue when the time comes but we'll see) but if your child does have his or her own devices, that's your choice, who am I to judge, my decision is for my child.

Yes, I do sometimes give Little A my mobile to hold whilst I'm changing her nappy but as a last resort and even though I have been told that this is creating bad habits, I would rather her hold a phone for two minutes than have her roll away and smudge poop all over the place.

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This post ended up becoming a bit of a ramble but I really couldn't help myself.
What are your thoughts on technology and its role in your children's everyday life?
Leave your thoughts below!
Thank you for reading!

EDIT: We spent the entire afternoon without having to switch the TV on yesterday but that was because I didn’t have any chores to do!


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2 comments

  1. This is such an interesting post! I’m not a Mum but I’ve always been interested in the babies and technology debate (for some reason haha!) obviously when I was a toddler and growing up, I didn’t have technology. And personally when the time comes, I would want my child to have the same upbringing. But I like your point about babies being interested in what you’re interested in - I’d never thought of that before so with that in mind I’d certainly be wary to not use my phone / laptop / kindle or whatever around a child whenever possible.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  2. You’re right children will copy what they see around them too. I’m not a parent yet but I’d like to think I’d try to limit screen time as it’s not good for any of us!

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