How do you parent an 8 year old? How do you navigate the tech world aimed at children? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 09-06-2013, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have no idea anymore. What does an 8 yo want and need? Should i let him play  on an ipad or DS? How am i supposed to know whether its good for  him or not? I cant seriously ban technology altogether just because it seems  highly addictive/brain destroying/dangerous....these kids are 'digital natives' after all, and i owe it  my  8o (and his younger siblings coming after him) to be familiair with technology...the stuff is changing at a pace that only a professional can keep up with, and its only going to get worse....

 

I dont see any conversations about this anywhere...

 

I just dont know what to do...i dont know how to keep up....i just know i cant stand how he behaves after being on those games....

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#2 of 12 Old 09-06-2013, 01:31 PM
 
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IME, kids that age want what their friends have.  What they need is a whole other question.

 

You're not obligated to supply him with electronics.  If you don't like their effect on his behavior, your extra seriously majorly not obligated.  The "digital natives" thing was thought up in a marketing department someplace, and what you owe your child is an upbringing consistent with your values, that prepares him for a self-sustaining future.  The difference between that future and living in a van down by the river is not access to Nintendo.

 

If you don't want to get him the gadget, don't.  He will have plenty of exposure to technology in school and at friend's houses.  (If you homeschool, he'll have plenty of access at the library.)  I'm not particularly keeping up with gadgets either.  I don't think you have to be a professional to do it, I just think you have to be interested, and I'm not. 

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#3 of 12 Old 09-06-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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I don't think there's any harm in limiting what you spend your money on, and what you let him play with or watch on TV. We don't have cable because I don't want its permeating influence in my home. We own one game system-- a Wii, and have very few games. We got it mostly for the active play it allowed in winter. The children are allowed to play the games on their dad's Nook occasionally, but it's not theirs, and occasionally really is occasionally. At the library, they play the games on the computer. At home, exceptionally rarely. They certainly enjoy it, but I think 8 year olds need to spend time playing with real toys or being active in some manner. When I permit the electronic stuff, they're not building things with legos.  

 

You don't have to throw up your hands and say "ah, well. I guess it's what he wants and what's good for him be darned." Previous poster is right-- you owe you kid an upbringing consistent with your values. That's a great philosophy. MeepyCat, I'm stealing that.


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#4 of 12 Old 09-06-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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I am not aware of any commercial technology that is so difficult that one can not pick it up pretty easily with some hands-on time. I didn't grow up with tablets and it took me about a week to figure out how to use one effectively. There was an experiment being done where two villages were given a bunch of laptops for their kids with no instructions and they figured out how to use them and even hacked the programing.

 

My kids have access to my tablet, our pc and an old tv/dvd player. When they have been around other people with gadgets, it was very easy for them to pick up on how to use them. So, no I really don't think a child needs immediate access to all types of technology available.


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#5 of 12 Old 09-06-2013, 07:13 PM
 
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#6 of 12 Old 09-06-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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My son is 6 and he behaves horribly if he is allowed any time playing video games or games on our iphones, so we have taken those options away. I see nothing wrong with putting those limits on kids. He is allowed to watch a limited amount of tv. If he watched all he wanted, he would literally never do anything else. You asked the question what does an 8 yr old want/need. I think deep down all kids want attention and love. They may think they want technology more but I see no point in encouraging it if it becomes a problem for your child. Kids need to learn how to function without technology too. They need to problem solve, play pretend, learn how to navigate social situations, and think on their own. This is why my child will not have a cell phone, iTouch, iPad, a tv in his room, etc etc until the time comes when he can buy one himself or we feel it is absolutely necessary. Nothing wrong with kids just playing and using their imagination. Just my two cents. I do understand some kids handle tech better than my son does.

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#7 of 12 Old 09-07-2013, 03:08 PM
 
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We just do a simple screen time limit for our nine year old - 20 minutes per day.  He can use it on computer games, he can save up the minutes and watch an appropriate movie, he can use it to draw on the computer.  Our only exceptions are if he wants to program the computer (something he has expressed interested in learning how to do,) he can have 20 minutes extra per day to do that.  We set the boundary when he was pretty small, so he isn't questioning it now, and he sets the timer himself when he wants to use the computer.

 

My question is - how long do we keep this screen time limit.  I'm definitely not interested in him spending a lot of time on the computer/screen when he is a teenager, but I want to be fair too.  Should I just increase the number of minutes as he gets older - 20 minutes is intentionally not enough to really get into an involved computer game like minecraft, but is fair of me to limit him in the same way when he is sixteen, for example?

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#8 of 12 Old 09-07-2013, 11:20 PM
 
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Dovey, I really think it depends.  Twenty minutes isn't time for Minecraft, but it's not enough time for much programming either, and it's really not enough time for schoolwork if that's expected to be typed or submitted online.  If the computer is for playing games, twenty minutes is a fine limit.  If it's being used for work, I think work time should be freely given.  If the computer is being used for projects that aren't games but also aren't homework, I'm pretty willing to remove limits on use.  (My older niece made her baby sister a stop-motion animated birthday card last year.  It obviously took her hours to put together, both in photographing and in subsequent computer work.  It could not have been accomplished with a screen-time limit.)

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#9 of 12 Old 09-09-2013, 11:03 AM
 
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I've never felt it necessary to outright ban or even place hard limits on electronics. Instead, I always encouraged a variety of activities. If the kids were attending a practice and a game for soccer or hockey twice a week, along with a drama rehearsal on another day, and playing outside with their friends after school, and walking the dog and making crafts and helping with dinner, it all added up to natural limits on their computer/t.v/game boy time every day.

 

When he was about 8 y.o, we told DS that if he wanted a Game Boy, he would have to buy it himself. He saved his allowance and birthday/Christmas money and earned some cash doing chores and with a yard sale.  It helped put off the purchase for close to year.  Also, we were fairly selective about the computer and video games, sticking to somewhat "educational" games. 

 

When I was 8 y.o., I was addicted to books. I spent hours and hours with my nose buried between the pages. I took books with me everywhere including the park, playgrounds and social events like visits to grandparents. My parents didn't encourage us to join sports teams or other activities, so I didn't have other distractions. I honestly think that my book addiction meant that I had a more limited experience than my kids have had, despite their access to computer and video and hand-held device games. 

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#10 of 12 Old 09-10-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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kids can use all of the technology stuff at the local public library. you don't have to buy any of it! using it at the library is self-limiting, too. libraries have limits, like 30 minutes at a time. or things you check out but have to return. so the kid can get some "experience" with the electronics, minus the addiction to the electronics.

 

my DD is almost 7.5 years old, and we don't do any of the fancy electronics. just a little TV, some DVDs in the van. i'm teaching her how to shoot professional photographs with my expensive digital camera, and will show her how to edit images on the computer. she's interested in having some sort of tablet to play around with for artistic projects. i *might* look into that as a Christmas present, provided that it's only $100 or so and limited in what she can do with it. she is allowed to play certain games sometimes on the computer, those we find on pbskids.org -- for example. we watch educational videos together on the computer on BrainPop. she has a math program called ixl.com

 

as far as Wii -- no interest, no time for this. she stays active in real life athletics like swimming, cheerleading, dance, gymnastics. i have to admit, i don't even know what a DS is.

 

when she has time for play, she pulls out her My Pretty Pony collection, or her Littlest Pet Shop box, or plays with her dolls. 

 

she and her little brother have an extensive dress up closet of costumes i have acquired over the years, mainly through Good Will type stores. they love to dress up, and are into that closet all.the.time. i'm annoyed at how often they leave their costumes off the hangers. 

 

---------

 

and this is a little off topic, but i would like to point out that electronics *seem* to be a vital necessity, that kids have to keep up with the latest and newest in order to "survive" -- but i don't think it's true at all. a little goes a long way, and they are natural whizzes at figuring stuff out on cell phones, etc.

 

i think that what children need for their long term "survival" is knowledge of how to do stuff like grow their own food, understand principles of nature and the natural world, get experience relating with all kids of other people, learn to budget money and manage a home, and take care of children, and even aging adults. all of these factors WILL necessarily be a part of their lives. we in the united states have been living "high on the hog" for a long time. there is no guarantee that our children's future will include ready access to wi fi and electricity at all. 

 

my advice, which admittedly you can take it or leave it, it's just my perspective -- my advice would be to just ignore the tech world aimed at children and go about parenting your child as if it didn't exist at all. 

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#11 of 12 Old 09-11-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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im reading  the replies. Yours was particularly helpful Tropicana...in still trying to figure it out. I  even know really, where to begin. For eg, my 8yo would never have the time to do  all the activities you mentioned-is that all after school? Maybe your school is really close. It  must cost quite alot to enrole her in those activities...

...as for technology. Its like money. Its what you do with it. Its just a tool. How do i find the time to accompany my kid to the library? And frankly, 30mins isnt really adequate, for, for eg, editing photos.

 

See, you can do just about EVERYTHING on these tablets. (short of growing food, but you can sure learn alot about growing food)

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#12 of 12 Old 09-18-2013, 05:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
 

I've never felt it necessary to outright ban or even place hard limits on electronics. Instead, I always encouraged a variety of activities. If the kids were attending a practice and a game for soccer or hockey twice a week, along with a drama rehearsal on another day, and playing outside with their friends after school, and walking the dog and making crafts and helping with dinner, it all added up to natural limits on their computer/t.v/game boy time every day.

 

 

 

My son is 4 but that's often our approach. On school days, he can use his iPad (he has his own, given to him by a well-meaning but overindulgent great-aunt) for a little while in the evening; usually 45 minutes or so. He's equally interested in learning programs (he very much enjoys practicing his letters) and television. He tends to end up doing learning activities on it most of the time anyway but he's not forced to do them. He has it taken away immediately if he displays a bad attitude because he's using it.


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