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Just another stay at home mom trying to do it all, save the world, and not run out of coffee.
My published articles: exm.nr/gkA1yp
Twitter: @CarolBruckmann

Monday, July 25, 2011

Salivania or Bust

I would love to move into this beehive,
but the wireless service is really spotty.
I was the sort of child who became so absorbed in reading a book or playing a video game that I would literally not hear my parents call me. Back in the days of nonsavable game like Mario Brothers I would often only go to bed with assurances that the game would remain paused through the night and while I attended school the next day. So it may seem hypocritical that I so severely limit my children’s exposure to television and video games. Except on special occasions my four year old has to do 3 chores, reading, and math to earn a television show, then 3 more chores and a workbook to earn video game time. It’s possible she sees me as slightly harsh. The other morning I walked into our bedroom to this conversation:

Caitlyn: I don’t like you mommy. You always make me do chores. When I grow up, I am going to move to a country where they don’t do chores.
Me: Where do you think they don’t do chores?
Caitlyn: South Africa.
Me: I’ve been to South Africa. They have chores there.
Caitlyn: Well then Salivania. They don’t do chores there. (long pause while her dad and I crack up) Where is Salivania anyway?

Despite the fear that my daughter may one day move to an imaginary country with unrestricted television and video games where no one has to empty the dishwasher, I do plan to continue my efforts to fight her natural inclination to zone out into all things technological. (Her latest plan involves turning five so she can buy her own iPhone to play games on during quiet time.)

Now I am as likely as the next parent to turn on the electric nanny when I can’t quite get dinner done, and our long van trips are much more enjoyable thank to a built in DVD player and a Leapster. But several things have convinced me of the importance of fighting to pull my children away from media. Here are a few:

1. Brain Drain – Despite the fact that Jake and the Neverland Pirates will try to draw her into conversation, her brain shuts down to the lowest level possible when placed before a shiny screen.

2. Time Waste – The child will literally stare at a computer or smartphone indefinitely, even if nothing is on it!

3. Lack of Good Programming – Okay, so at the preschool level the only thing I really have to worry about is that The Fresh Beat Band really freaks me out, but the shows only get worse as the suggested age increases.

4. Commercials – Even while watching an okay show an advertisement will pop up with a risqué line from a network sitcom, or our football game will be interrupted with a Viagra commercial. Thank goodness for DVRs, am I right?

5. Family time – I don’t want to be one of those families sending instant messages to each other that dinner is ready. I want us to be truly present with each other and involved in each others lives.

The next generation gets sucked in...
Ephesians 5:15-16 warns, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” As much as we as parents have struggled with time management and wasted time I pray that we can break the cycle and teach our children to walk carefully and wisely use the time given them by God.

1 comment:

  1. They may want to go to Salivania today...but there will come a day when they will be grateful for the influence and limitations you set.


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