As a parent, we all worry a lot about kids and technology. How old should they be before they play video games? Download an app? Have an i-Device to call their own? A cell phone? An Instagram account? There is never an end to the list of questions without definitive answers. So parents are forced to “make it up as they go along”, to google-search, consult with other parents, and to sign up for social media services that they have no personal use for… just to keep tabs on what their kids are up to. And we also spend lots of time begging our kids to unplug, log off, and have fun with family and friends “in person” vs online. Sometimes I think that kids technology has turned me into a hyper-vigilant, clock-watching nag.
But I must admit…. there is a huge upside. The technology that my kids own and use daily…. texting, Facetime, Skype…. has made an enormous impact on their ability to have a personal relationship and friendship with family members who live so far away. Ask my kids to pick up the phone and call Grandma to tell her about their report cards- and I will be met with “maybe later Mom”. But tell them to send her a quick text with their good news- and it happens instantly.
My boys have this awesome relationship with my brother (their Uncle) based on playing quick games of Doodle Jump, checkers, and chess online at Apple's game center. We'll be cuddled up on the bed watching a college basketball game and one of my boys will be texting ongoing game commentary with their Uncle. And when my youngest son builds a new Lego truck, his older brother will snap a picture of it to send along to the rest of the family in Florida in Michigan. This kind of window into our life would never happen without my kids and their access to technology.
And one of the things that gives me the most pleasure, is the online relationship they have with their college-aged cousins. My oldest son will be up at 6:30am having breakfast at the kitchen table and will receive a “Good morning!” text from his cousin Megan- who is also an early riser. She leads a busy 20-year-old something life… and if we didn't have texting and Facetime, my 12-year old son probably would hardly know his cousin whom we only see once or twice a year, most often at a crowded family get together where there are so many people to see and catch up with. Instead, Megan knows the names of Kyle's friends, what classes he is taking is school and what he thinks about them, and how he is doing in his favorite sport- soccer. Technology has turned her from just a remote cousin that is 8 years older and he hardly knows, to someone who is interested in and active in his life.
And it's not just this one cousin either. My husband has a large family- but they all live 750 miles away from us. But my kids know so many of them thanks to their access to technology. And they think nothing of dashing off a quick note, a funny joke, or even a video of them all singing Happy Birthday. Technology really can make our world smaller and our physical distance less of a relationship boundary.
Each week Nicole from Moments that Define Life and I present our Share Your Life Link-Up a place where you can link up any post that shares a bit of your life with us! Link up here or at Nicole's blog and have your post displayed in both places! We'd love for you to join us!
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So please link up if you wrote a recent blog post that shares your life. For those of you with older kids, are you seeing the same thing in your household- that your kids are connecting with family members in a new and awesome way via technology?