Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Techy Parent and Techy Policies

I'm the type of person that loves my tech...sometimes too much. Macbook Pro, iPhone 5, Google Nexus 7 tablet (what no iPad?!). While I've never been an early tech adopter, I'm a "pretty quickly" adopter, so I've tried a lot and I'm also willing to let something go if it's not meeting my needs. I have, let's just say, a very active eBay account. If something doesn't work for me, it goes. I won't sit on it (except my first Dell laptop which is a useless paperweight which I still can't get myself to get rid of).

As a parent and a parent who thinks about how they parent intentionally, this brings up a good question - how do you juggle tech and kids? Do you put policies in place (no cell phones at the dinner table), do you have "times" (cell phones only after the kids go to bed), do you integrate tech (even the kids have their own iPads and can order kiddy Netflicks if they so choose)...there are lots of options and lots of questions that you wrestle with as a parent. I really try to think, "What am I teaching my sons by doing this?" If I'm watching a movie with them and am on Facebook messaging with the other Mamas, what am I saying to my 3-year-old?

My personal policy is to try to avoid social media type tech when my kids are awake and playing with me. If they're playing together I may hop on my phone and check FB or my email (especially over the weekend when my students have these huge horrific problems - I call it "being on fire" and Mike jokes that I have to check to make sure my students aren't on fire). If they're napping...usually I'm napping, but if I'm not I can be found working on a blog post or cruising mommy blogs.

What I don't want my kids to learn is that this "other stuff" comes before them. Now, don't get me wrong, if I'm typing an email to my Dad and Silas comes up wanting something RIGHT NOW I will definitely give him the, "I'm typing to Grandpa and will be done in one minute. If you can wait one minute, I will help you. Thank you for being patient with me." But unless absolutely necessary I never want to appear to my kids that "this thing" is more important than what's going on in front of me or around me. I want to be as present as possible, especially right now when these little boys have such amazing stories to tell me.

What's your parenting and tech policy? Do you think technology has influenced your relationships with your children or spouse for the better or for the worse?