Monday, July 25, 2011

Media Monday - Week 3 (part 1)

Welcome to week three of Media Monday sponsored by Courtney at Women Living Well.  To review the first two weeks just click HERE.  (This will take you back to my posts on "Challenges" so, depending on when you click .. . you may have to scroll down :-) )

The topic this week is Media and our Parenting (part 1) .  If you would like to read Courtney's full post just click the link back to Women Living Well shown above.  This post is my ideas as an extension of what she talked about in her post.

This topic is probably closest to my mind and heart because it is something that I have been conscience about over the past few months.  Not necessarily because my children use media - they don't . .. well at least not yet . . but rather, how my use influences them.  There was a commercial that aired showing two dads at a soccer game; one had a phone where he could get things done AND watch his child play while the "old" phone was used by a dad who couldn't even look away so he missed every play.  Yet, shouldn't it really show the parent not using the phone but focusing on their child?  We have been so connected that sometimes, we can't unconnect from media to reconnect with a human. 

Don't worry, I'm not pointing my fingers - it is like the old saying . .. if I point at you, I'm pointing three fingers back at me!!  I am guilty of making my kids wait while I finish writing an e-mail or a post or just to do "one more thing"; and I'm guilty of being distracted by what is online instead of focusing on what needs to be taken care of in my own home.  This is a new problem for our society, really.  Thinking back, the only thing that "distracted" my mom from watching my brothers and I was her book.  Yes, she loved to read and guess what, so do my brothers and I.  It wasn't a negative at all - instead it was a positive because when she wanted to read, we read too.  As many people will state, even pre-schoolers know how to use an iPad or even Smartphones (which I have neither ha!)  Sure, I want my children to learn how to use modern technology but I also want them to learn moderation which means that I have to learn it as well.

At this point, if you have children or teens that are into the latest gadgets or even just getting into them, please take time to read Courtney's Post; she goes through the list of media items that are most popular and than also shares ideas on how to protect your children in those areas.  I'm going to take a slightly different turn only because, as I said, my kids aren't at that stage. 

Instead, I wanted to just take a quick look at how media I use impacts my kids.  I've mentioned before that I don't want my children's memory of me to be of me sitting at my desk.  I struggle still with how to balance this - we are such an electronic world that 99% of everything I do is on my laptop.  Isn't it funny that now, I'm trying to figure out how to not do so much on this little life saver when, for so long, the push was how to get everything on here?  I can usually tell that I've spent too much time in front of my screen when my kids start climbing on my lap, when they start pushing me out of the chair or, when they start doing things to get my attention.  I often don't mean to do it, but time slips away.   One thing I have done is I've tried to stop reading blogs during the day - instead, I just take time in the evening to read through any new posts that interest me.  I have found this really helps free up time during the day.  Instead of checking up on Facebook every hour, I try to stay away, limiting my time to first thing in the morning, right after lunch when the two little ones go down for naps, and than in the evening.  Finally, e-mail.  This I probably check the most just because it is my main means of communication with people.  Plus it is a quick "update" button and I can scan for anything I need to take care of and walk away.  I feel like I've had some success over the last few weeks which is good.

The other media items in our home - cell phones; it is cute to see my kids use their hands as imaginary cell phones when I'm on the phone with my husband. (they even know his ring!).  I'm not really a phone person so I don't use it much.  The TV is another big media item - I told my husband recently that once summer is done I'll have to break our TV habit.  It has become our afternoon entertainment during the heat wave.  It really has been too hot in our house to do anything - the kids don't even play because they sweat.  The TV keeps them quiet, still, and sitting in front of a fan which is actually a good thing.  I'm just as guilty - I tend to sit and try to stay cool also . . .This fall, we will get back to turning off the TV, turning on our CD's and using music to entertain instead of the TV. 

One final question for thought:  Facebook.  The site actually has an age limit.  Are you willing to allow your child to have a Facebook account even if they are under that limit?  I know this is discussed periodically - some people say no and some say yes and "fudge" on the age they put in for their child.  They justify this by saying that they are monitoring their child's page or (with the old . .. ) 'everyone else is doing it'.   No, I'm not there yet, but I think part of teaching our child right from wrong, is teaching them to follow the "rules".  When is a double standard ok?