For some of our students, the school-issued laptop may be their first digital device, but I have a hunch that for most of our students, they have been plugged in to technology for many years. After all, I have seen toddlers who know how to use smart phones, iPads, Kindles, PSPs, and other digital devices. My own family is guilty of sitting at a restaurant and checking our email, Facebook, Instagram, etc. instead of talking stories. We are a multiple device family and I admit that sometimes our “conversations” happen through texting and IM.
Ruth Davis Konigsburg from Times wrote an article about parents as digital hypocrites who feel like our kids are too plugged in even though we spend just as many hours and more on our own digital devices.
Before your child brings home his/her school-issued laptop in a few months, pay attention to your own family’s media saturation. What devices do people use? How much time is spent on these devices (TV, DVD, Smartphones, computers, laptops, gaming devices, tablets)? If rules are established for media use (no TV or video games on school nights, for example), does everyone follow the rule or is it just for the kids?
Konigsburg’s conclusion to her article is that,
the biggest argument against too much tech too soon is the opportunity cost: What else could my kid be doing when not looking at a screen? Reading, playing outside, exercising, socializing, daydreaming. But if I ever want to teach my children my own values about technology, I would do better by asking that same question of myself.
As a resource for families, the school will be sending out a parent media agreement form that you may use with your child. Use your media observations to maintain or revise your media expectations with your ‘ohana, and connect with the school to get more support and kokua.