Be: Careful — Tech & Children

Screens have infiltrated our world: smart phones, tablets, video games, even the old-fashioned television. Technology is in our homes and it's in our palms, an extension of our bodies; our eyes are fixed on it, our minds preoccupied by it. It has made some things better, and some things worse. The one thing it has most threatened is childhood.

Steve Jobs, Mr. Silicon Valley himself, said something striking and surprising about children and technology. When asked if his own kids love Apple's iPad, Jobs replied: “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

A healthy childhood is filled with running around, playing house, climbing trees, building, drawing, reading, wrestling; bikes, forts, imaginative play, dirt, bugs, cuddles, puddles, hide & go seek, board games; and most importantly, getting bored and learning how to deal with it.

My biggest concern with tech is its addictive nature: we just want more. I call technology a dark hole—do you experience this too? It sucks me in. The most vulnerable and impressionable members of our society, the children, are more susceptible to addiction, and it's our responsibility to protect them. They don’t know what’s best for them, but we do.

Let’s follow Jobs' lead and power down the devices. Screens are a quick and easy pacifier in difficult parenting situations, and fine to use in moderation. But, might we be very careful with technology's presence in our children's lives. (I edited this article while my youngest child watched an episode of Lego: Legends of Chima.)

Steve Jobs & Family