Parents indulge tech-savvy iToddlers

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Parents indulge tech-savvy iToddlers

The Southerner

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By Larson Collier

By Lauren Harper

Screaming children are now fixed with the click of a button or the tap of a touch screen. Some may think of technology as the new and improved medicine to keep kids calm, but I think it’s leading kids in the wrong direction.

Over the summer, I worked at a local breakfast restaurant where every day, families of four or five would pile into my waiting section. I would greet them with a smile and ask what they would like to drink. When I returned with their beverages, more often than not, the children at the table would be occupied with laptops or iPads. Before I observed this, I didn’t think 2- and 3-year-olds knew what iPads were, let alone how to work them on their own.

I have no idea what it is like to have kids. I don’t know how stressful it is or how much work parents put into their children’s lives every day, and I am not trying to criticize moms for wanting a little peace and quiet. I just wish kids could appreciate activities outside the dominion of technology. When I was younger, coloring at a restaurant was a rare luxury. Toys were never packed in my mom’s purse to keep me preoccupied. I played with my brother or talked to my family.

Unfortunately, restaurants are not the only place I have spotted this new technology craze. I see children on laptops in malls, grocery stores and doctor’s offices, as well. My fear is that soon we will see this behavior everywhere we go.

Kids need to grow up playing outside and reading with their parents. They need to learn how to behave in public without the motivation of some kind of  treat. By giving them access to all types of technology, we are hindering them because we’re teaching them that it is OK to be sedentary all the time. When parents shove an iPad in their child’s face to stop the tantrum they’re throwing, it sends the wrong message. Good behavior, not bad, should be rewarded.

A little TV time never hurt anyone. A movie a week is fine. But playing mindless games for hours every day is simply unacceptable. If parents continue to let their children play on iPads all the time, think about what their grandchildren will be doing. Kids will become lazy and antisocial. We need to change this habit now before it is too late. Press pause every once in a while. Hit the streets for a game of “Tag” or “Red Rover.” Show your kids that there really are healthy ways to have fun.

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