Monthly Archives: July 2011

Foolproof Birth Control

I’m sure no one see MY kids as this.

How digital technology is changing the rhythm of family life

Earlier this summer, the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre released a study called Families Matter which documents how families with young children are integrating digital media into the rhythm of daily life.

800 parents of children ages 3-10 were interviewed for the study which examines how parents feel about raising children in a digital age.

The study found that most families are in a period of transition when it comes to digital technologies in our homes as we try to adjust to these new technologies that are profoundly changing our world. I had originally written both ours and our kids world, but then realized that our kids world isn’t going to be “changed”. For them, it will just be the world they live in.

Not surprising, when it comes to the media we participate in with our children, we prefer the older stuff. 89% of us say we like watching TV with our kids, 79% of us read books with them, and 73% of us play board games (really?). But the one media our kids really love – video games – is the one that only half of us are doing with them, which is even more interesting to me when the research shows that the majority of us  believe that video games help children foster skills that are important to their academic achievement.

While parents believe that video games can be powerful educational tools, we are not quite so fond of the educational potential of mobile technologies with many of us viewing mobile phones as the least educational device our kids can use. Yet many educators, such as the New Media Consortium in their 2011 New Horizons report on educational technology, are predicting that mobile technologies s will be a major force in education in the very near future. Clearly there is a disconnect with how parents perceive mobile technologies and how educators perceive them when it comes to their role in education.

Other findings of the study include:

  • More than half of parents are concerned about the effect of media usage on their children’s health, but fewer than 1 in 5 of us think our kids spend too much time with digital media.
  • More than a third of us have learned something technical from our kids.
  • Lack of exercise and online privacy are our biggest concerns.


Fair does not mean equal

Been having some challenges with my kids and getting them to understand the principal that fair does not always mean equal.

Case in point last week. My son had to spend a few hours in an isolation ward in emergency at the hospital (it’s okay – he’s fine). But during the course of the 6 hour stay he got stuck in an isolation room and poked and prodded by Dr’s and nurses. When he was finished and released, we wanted to reward him with a little something, so I picked up a little Star Wars light sabre for him that he has been eyeing up for the past few weeks. This prompted a “hey, that’s not fair” from his older sister. I tried to explain why it actually was fair, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

It works both ways. At 7, my daughter has been doing summer camps this year and having a great time. This has led to some “that’s not fair” resentment from my 4 year old pre-school son.

My kids have this sense that unless everything is exactly equal, things are unfair. But yet, they are different kids – different people with different interests and (at 7 and 4) different abilities. Why would you want things to be exactly equal in those circumstances? Yet somehow, they have this feeling that unless they get exactly the same things and are treated exactly the same, then one is getting more.

It used to drive me nuts when my parents would get me and my brother and sister the exact same thing at Christmas in an attempt to keep things equal, but I understand the temptation to do this now that I have kids of my own and am fighting the “it’s not fair” battle. I made the mistake of snapping at one last week “well, life isn’t fair”. Fortunately, my wife caught me and put a stop to that line of thought.

So, how do you handle the fair, but not equal battle at your house?