Before I had my child, like many other new soon-to-be Mom’s we say, “OH, I’ll never let my child have screen time, they will not be on electronics!” Big Fat, HA!!!! I realized one thing quick as a single mom. I needed the screen time for my sanity and so I could actually get stuff done. I’m not kidding, I couldn’t hire a maid or a babysitter, I was lucky to even walk out of the room without a cry. So it started with Baby Einstein and that to lead into tablet time, then more electronics as the years progressed. Mind you, I still read him books, taught him his numbers, letters and we still played outside like I did as a kid. Well enough to start Pre-K with an advantage in his education. I don’t take much responsibility for that, he is just really smart, (Like I’m kind of scared as a parent) “Smart”.
As technology gets more advanced in the world, so does his knowledge and curiosity. He started off slow and then amazed me with his talent behind the computer and in games. I thought it would be a great idea to send him to a STEM camp last summer which taught him all about computers and coding, I don’t even know about coding myself, but he can build a robot and make it do tricks. I knew then, he wasn’t going to be the athletic type. Crazy for an 8 year old in my opinion, but times have changed and they are continuing to change fast. The schools went virtual due to the Pandemic and so even more screen time for our kids. Which results in teaching hours in front of a screen. So there is absolutely no choice in whether or not you want your child at any age to have screen time, it is a must not a choice, especially if we want them educated at this time.
My son has been begging me to start his own YouTube Station to play video games. He watches adults and children play and he wants to do it. Being the Mom I am, I won’t stop him from a goal, but I won’t just let him go and do whatever he see’s fit. So I made a deal with him, we learn everything that goes on behind the scenes on making videos including him doing it himself. I’m not pushing my kid to be a YouTube Star, but I will teach him the ropes if this is truly a goal of his. I firmly believe that we can do anything we want as long as we are willing to put in the work. So I am teaching him the ropes of recording and editing. I don’t even know everything so it’s an adventure for both of us. It’s actually brought us together in a really fun way.
He didn’t realize there are green screens, lighting, editing, prompters, even music overlay, having the right equipment and apps that we would invest in. He was shocked, and I loved it. Honestly, how would know he when all he see’s is these amazing kids with awesome shows or gaming channels, in huge houses. I’m even impressed, which is why he needs to know the truth. The truth that many kids his age don’t know. The kids that do, are the ones making the channels, their parents are helping if not doing all the work for them on the screen and behind the scenes, well that’s not me. This is a goal of his, and it will not come easy, this will take hard work and motivation. We will fail many times but if we continue moving forward and keeping an open mind to new ideas, we can be successful. We must invest in ourselves and to always continue to learn.
I always dislike using this line but it is fitting, “Back in My Day…” Well it’s true when I was a child we didn’t have all this technology. I was the first generation to have: computers, (Oregon Trail, WHOOP, WHOOP) Video game consoles, DVD’s, pagers, then in high school, some of us got the first batches of cellphones. I was lucky, I had a job, so I was able to get a pay by the minute track phone, Oh, I was cool. NOT!!! Under the rules that I was to continue to get good grades, pay for my own phone bill, which meant I had to work hard to pay the extra bill for a want and not a need. My mom did it right though she taught me, if I wanted something, I wasn’t just going to get it because everyone else had it or was doing it. I would have to work hard and be responsible to get my wants. Which taught me work ethic and the value of our wants. I couldn’t understand then what she was doing, as I type this today I completely understand what she was doing and that was teaching me something I needed to be a successful adult.
Which is why I am doing that with my son. He may have more electronics than I did at that age, and screen time isn’t even a discussion since this is how my son is going to be starting 3rd grade. But if he wants something, like a gaming channel, I’m gonna teach him the work ethic behind it, even if he’s 8 years old. So to reach any goal just like I was taught, you have to keep up on responsibilities, you have to learn, invest in yourself, and you have to fail at times to get back up. In my core, I believe he can do this. Even if after all this work behind the scenes, he doesn’t want to put in the effort and continue on, he still learned and at the end of the day, I’m supporting his goals, and my job is to get him ready to be a responsible, educated adult and to differentiate between wants, needs, and the reality of it all.