Cutting the cord

As a child, I always played outside with neighborhood friends. I remember my parent’s first cell phone with a game on it and my aunt’s pager; some people reading this will have to google pagers. The generation after me, around my brother’s age of 14, has grown up with iPads, iPhones, gaming consoles and social media.

While both generations have grown up with technology, we experienced it in different ways. Could you imagine a world with no television, no internet or no cell phones? It wasn’t that long ago when dial-up internet was still a big deal. I remember not being able to talk on the phone because someone was trying to get online.

My brother spends time outside playing soccer with his friends, riding dirt bikes and playing in the neighborhood. This is similar to how I spent my time as a child. I remember when I got the first-generation PlayStation, while he’s grown up with a variety of consoles. Our parents made us play outside because they felt it was more important than TV and I am so thankful for that.

I babysat for a family with two children during the summer of 2016 and they did not have any TVs in their house. The children were allowed up to 45 minutes of video and we could only watch shows on Netflix on the parent’s laptop. They didn’t have good cell phone reception at their house, so we could only use the house phone, and they had a trampoline, swing set, at least a hundred books and acres of land to run around and cows.

At first, I thought it was odd there were no televisions in the house, but over the course of the summer, I grew to believe their parents were doing the best thing for their children.

It forces the kids to use their imagination, play outside and enjoy what life has to offer outside of technology. I feel too much screen time for a child is harmful to their creativity and makes them lazy.

Watching those kids over the summer and making them use their imagination on rainy days or during craft time was so rewarding. It was nice to watch them grow, listen to stories they were making up throughout the day or to read to them outside instead of sticking them in front of a screen for hours until their parents returned.

According to the Scientific Learning website, children who watch too much television are likely to develop weaker language skills, lack creative problem-solving skills and lack symbolism understanding.

While I don’t believe technology should completely be taken away from children, I believe technology should be used in moderation; like the parents I babysat for practice with their children.

I believe reading books, using your imagination and creative problem solving is vital to mental development in children. I believe it is vital to success in school for children to have limited exposure to technology.