So let’s talk about an interesting aspect of Carter’s life. We briefly hit some points about it in another article talking about technology However, as we sit here and watch Carter play his iPad as we speak, it is apparent that the realm of the iPad world is in a class all on its own. Let’s talk about a boy and his iPad.
It’s hard to remember exactly when Carter first started playing his iPad, but it was at a very young age. It obviously started through the gateway drug called an iPhone. After his surgery, likely while he was still in the hospital, he started playing the games that came on the cell phones. At first we just wanted him to be entertained, and always told ourselves that he will be growing up in a world of tech. He needed to learn how to use technology to survive in corporate America.
Then it became a way to keep him entertained while do other things. For instance, going out to eat, going to appointments, fairs, etc.. All he wanted to do was play a game on Mom’s or Dad’s phone, and we simply just allowed him too. Until the meltdowns began to occur!
The phone would die, he would lose at his favorite game, or the internet would go out. He would scream and shout, thrown and destroy, just plain get mad. It was a side we hadn’t experienced yet, and it was scary. Within seconds he would go from completely happy, to the terminator. So we tried a different approach.
He got an ipad! I know, it sounds crazy right off the bat, but hear us out. We wanted Carter and Kinley to have their own iPads that had their own individual apps. Things that they liked personally. This worked for a little while, but it still got to the point that the only thing they wanted to do was play games. We would even drive 9 hours to go to Tennessee and visit family for a week, and they still just wanted to sit around and play games on their iPads.
For me personally, I hate that more than anything. Phones have consumed peoples life, and when you only see each other a few times out of the year, lets have a conversation and not sit around playing games on phones. So, having your children do it to other people is just as bad. I wanted the kids to enjoy being with their grandparents, but instead they wanted to play on phones and iPads.
Not to mention, the meltdowns didn’t stop either. The same concerns from before were still occurring. So we decided to make another change. We took all of the games off, and put on educational stuff. This seemed like the perfect idea, and worked out pretty good for a little while. They would play ABC mouse or something to that extent, and they would get bored and do something else. That was until one of the educational games led them to youtube kids. This was the everlasting demon we did not see coming.
Youtube can often lead down dark paths, and end up changing your child’s personality and the way they act. Carter started saying phrases and acting out things we had never seen before. It was disturbing, and there were times you had no idea what he was watching as he would click through videos so fast.
Carter spends 80% of his day scripting out things that he has seen or watch on movies, television shows, or online videos. He is great at it, and has the memory of a lock box. He even says he wants to be a movie producer when he grows up. Reenacting The Incredibles or The Magic School Bus is one thing, but when you start to play out the Home Alone movies and Daddy Day Care, there are some things that are questionable with your ten year old. What if he saw something dangerous on accident.
A change needed to happen!
On top of all this, Carter was also getting headaches, and we assumed this was a big part of it. Watching that screen so often and so close had to affect his eyes somehow.
So we started restricted both kids to 1 hour a day, with only authorized games and videos by us, the parents. This was super hard at first, and Carter hated the transition from playing to not playing. However, through ABA and constant discussions and working through it, Carter is a whole new kid when it comes to his tech. No screaming, gives the iPad up, even plugs it in after he is done.
He still has his phobias though. If the iPad falls between 50%, he is in immediate freak out mode. He needs to plug it in while playing, and all he can think about is it dying. You can’t tell him no, because he won’t enjoy his only hour, and I don’t think that’s fair to him. I don’t go through his sensory overloads, so who am I to pretend to understand his feelings.
When we travel to TN, we don’t even take the iPads anymore. They swim, hang out, go to Dollywood, it so much fun. This last trip we took the Nintendo Switch, and when they got super bored we threw it on. At the camper at the lake, it was really hot one day, and they wanted to stay inside. We just threw the Switch up, let the kids take turns on Mario, and they didn’t complain about being stuck in the camper instead of playing outside.
Technology is important, but it shouldn’t consume your life. What are your thoughts with your child and their technology?