No Technology Time Outs for Modern Dads

Tron LegacyIn the past month my Internet service ran at a third of its regular speed, I bought two computers that didn’t work, got conned into a Web service plan and spoke with techies who told me my problems would be solved if I unplugged my device for a robust 30 seconds.

Ain’t technology grand? But what’s the plan B?

It’s impossible to separate technology from fatherhood. Our boys love their screen time, as we call it, hours spent watching either the flat panel TV, a tablet or even a hand-me-down smart phone. My work exists on my laptop, and I’m often doing it while sitting near my kids to forge a quasi-bond during work hours.

What’s the plan B?

Today’s Dads have their own technology issues to solve, but for those raising toddlers the problem is far more complicated. Kids are swimming in zeroes and ones, and they’ll never know anything different. I tried explaining what a cassette tape is to my four-year-old, and the look he shot me was priceless. Can you blame him?

My job as a parent of tech-savvy children will only get worse when they’re introduced to video games. By that time, the games may be so immersive, so brimming with wonder, that my sons will scratch and scream should we even suggest playing outdoors. Are they doomed to a pasty, out of shape future?

It’s never too early to train children on the limits of technology. We treat screen time equally, meaning an hour or so a day is our general limit even though Elijah argues they should be considered separate matters.

Nice try, future legal eagle.

Go Old School or Go Home

Play time is essential, and we spread out crayons, markers and kid-approved scissors whenever the boys get restless. My wife built a sandbox in our backyard several years ago, and that’s a magical way to spend some old-school playtime – if you don’t mind vacuuming the house three extra times a week. Having chickens roaming the backyard is also a nice distraction, but given their passion for excretion it’s not ideal.

The hardest part of raising a tech-savvy child is modeling good behavior. My wife wants us to go camping this weekend, an overnight trip that won’t eclipse 24 hours. I”m already sweating it. No Twitter or Facebook? What if a superstar athlete gets suspended during that time? Can I post pictures of our trip on Instagram? Just one, I swear …

I know I’ll be itching for my smart phone while staring at the camp fire’s hypnotic flames, but my sons will simply see their dad communing with nature and, hopefully, make a mental note or two.

Comments

  1. says

    I think it’s the modeling that’s so darn hard. Somehow I don’t recall my Dad sweating about whether what he was doing was going to prove to be a good influence on me or not. We modern Dads get to worry about that though, so I do use my devices differently when my too-darn-attentive kids are around. Hmmm….

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