The Question of Technology and Kids

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The Question of TechIn our house the debate started years ago.

When Denver was young as we neared Christmas, Erik suggested getting him a Nintendo DS.

My first reaction? An immediate, resounding, “NO.”

After much debate, discussion, and a little cajoling, I gave in. The first child device entered our home.

From there it expanded. A Playstation, an iPod, a Wii, a tablet.

We thought our established rules were enough.

No accounts I did not know about.

NO accounts I did not know about.

I am to have access to ALL passwords, all accounts, all the time.

The devices did not stay in the bedroom.

I could take the devices and nose around at any time.

Did I mention – no accounts I didn’t know about?

I tried parental controls, but they were minimal on the early devices.

I tried communication (*side note: have you ever tried talking to a brick wall? It’s beyond fun, I promise. No, really. Come talk to my teen, you’ll love it. </end sarcasm>)

I tried prying and sneaking. Once it was known I was looking, sneak accounts were made. When I discovered the sneak accounts, more were made.

The past couple of years have been a nightmare that dissolved into all devices (including the school issued iPad) were taken away. The teen is now device-less save for a cell phone that is a flip phone–as dumb as they come.

So when the time came earlier this year to figure out a birthday present for the girls, you can imagine my immense trepidation when the husband yet again suggested, “What about tablets?”

Again the debate raged.

“Look what happened when we started down this road last time.”

“But we learned so much. We know now what not to do.”

“I know – but look what happened when we started down this road last time.”

“They won’t have internet access. We’ll have parental controls.”

“But…I won’t lose them to the devices like I did him.”

“We learned a lot.”

In the end, yes…we got tablets for the girls for their birthdays.

I made sure, despite the girls age of 9 & 10, that they had the best kid-friendly devices. I downloaded acceptable apps, I blocked internet access and everything BUT the acceptable apps (thanks to a kid-zone sort of app). So they can’t play with settings, or shop for more apps, they can’t see anything but the apps I chose for them.

They aren’t allowed to play on it EVERY day, and they aren’t allowed to play for them for hours on end. Plus, their time on the device is tracked (I can set limits, but have not yet).

I have learned from my mistakes, and while I’m still not entirely comfortable with the girls having devices, I’m much more comfortable with how we’re handling things this time.

Trust is earned, not freely given.

My noose might be tighter this time around, but experience taught me some painful lessons these past few years.

What about you? Do your kids have devices? What sort of restrictions do you place on them?

 


by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.


Wordy Wednesday – The World of Harry Potter with my Youngest

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THE NEW YOUIn case you missed the flashing neon news flash, we went to Disney World last year. The trip included two days at Universal.

The absolute best part about that addition?

My youngest, Kennedy, had just discovered the Harry Potter movies and absolutely LOVED them. So around the time she made her wish it wasn’t just about Disney, it was about “seeing Harry Potter,” too.

Her excitement was palpable the whole few months leading up to the trip. She could hardly contain herself.

To help pass the time, I made a crazy suggestion.

Harry PotterWhy not read the books?

And so the journey started.

Together.

We’ve had some spurts where we don’t read, but usually it’s Kennedy and me, snuggled together, getting lost in the world of Hogwarts.

It’s certainly not my usual rapid pace for reading.

It’s definitely different reading aloud.

But I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Seeing the excitement in my baby girls eyes whenever I take out one of the books.

For Christmas she got my old Harry Potter complete set (as it was already worn and some spine breaking was all right), while I got a new set (isn’t it pretty?).

She pores over them when I’m not around (she thinks I don’t know), looking for her favorite parts.

Ron is her book boyfriend.

Hermione is her hero.

And there is nothing I love better than sharing my love of Harry Potter with her.

Everything is wrapped in the pure joy, excitement, and hope that there is a world of magic out there that she could take part in, even through the page of a book.


by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.


Autism Awareness Day – It’s Every Day Here

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modelToday is “Autism Awareness Day.”

For some reason as I heard the words in my head this morning I immediately became amused.  I understand that it’s about spreading awareness of autism, but I could only laugh and think But I’m aware of it EVERY day.

This is our face of autism.  Those gorgeous ice blue eyes.  The smile that has found its way to her face somehow. The personality that is growing every day.

Most would call us blessed, and we agree.  Molly’s form of autism is mild enough that she will likely lead a “normal” life. A job, a family, all that a parent imagines for their child. That doesn’t mean she won’t struggle. That every day one quirk or another won’t rear its head to impede what would normally be an easy step into a careful shuffle of feet.

The little reminders that pop up.

The way she organizes her M&M’s by colors in a snakelike form before eating.
The way she delicately nibbles, trying not to let the grease or crumbs of food touch her lips or outside of her mouth.
The way we cannot break our established program or routine without a meltdown.
The way her hugs are strong but brief, no lingering touches or snuggles.
The way you see her mind processing and learning everything she cannot express verbally.

Leaps and bounds of progress have shaped our lives these past few years, a sparkling personality is emerging from behind the walls. A girl that wants to be a model. A girl that’s amazing at math and science.

With those she trusts she is bubbling and bright, even bossy…but the meltdowns still linger.

We are blessed.

All parents are blessed.

I hope today your awareness expands, but shouldn’t it every day?


by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.