Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Parents shouldn't need "apps" to parent

By my own admission, I am not the most disciplinarian of parents, but I do think I know where lines need to be drawn.

The phrase "today's kids" is one that is bandied about quite freely, almost as an excuse in some cases for misbehavior or ill discipline, and while the world has certainly changed since I was in shorts, certain home truths should remain constant (like listening to parents).

I started writing this blog entry when I came across a new iPhone app called "DinnerTime". I'm an avid tech follower and am game to learn about and try new apps, but this one really irked me .. in fact, it made me quite angry!

The function of the app? You program into your child's phone meal times and it prevents them using the phone at such times.

The app co-founder wrote: I’ve noticed that my children find technology to be addictive at times, playing games or watching videos on their tablets or phones, and are easily distracted by their devices at dinner time and bed time. This gave me the idea for DinnerTime, as I wanted to create something that could help my children focus on other activities, and we could enjoy quality time together.

Now I confess that my kids love their screens. I don't particularly have an issue with that, but like everything, they should be used in moderation and they should understand and respect parental rules that are set. For us, a certain amount of screen time is allowed on weekdays and a certain amount on weekends. Phones are charged at night time in the family room (not in the bedrooms) and they are not allowed to be used in the car on short journeys and absolutely never at the dinner table.

The way we implement these rules at home is the old fashioned way ... using words.

I find it simply abhorrent that any parent would need an app to forcefully shut down their child's phone at the dinner table because they cannot do it with words.

I think its "today's parents" that are different ... taking an easy route like this keeps a future generation on a downward societal trend with an inability to look up and engage with other people.

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