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I prefer my kids to play outside but I don't deprive them of technology like phones and other gadgets. As when I was a child, I wished I had what other kids have but sadly my parents couldn't afford them.
The world keeps changing. Time flies and what we used to do when we were young, the new generation will not appreciate. I remember there's no such thing as an indoor game in my time. You will be chase out by your parents to play outside. We climb trees, we play rough games, we walk barefoot, we get our body and clothes dirty and that's what we called 'play'.
There are no gadgets in our time. We have rubber bands, paper dolls, slippers, tin cans, spiders inside the match, Chinese garter, playing cards, text, yo-yo, spinning tops and many more. We don't know anything about technology. Then all of a sudden it exists. They started this brick game, Tamagotchi, game consoles and there it starts to know who's parents got money and who have nothing to spare.
And I can tell you I was so jealous just to see my neighbours playing their brick game. And sometimes I save money to have a go on it. And how I cry to ask for my Mama and Papa to buy me one but those days was tough. Money was hard to earn just enough and sometimes not even enough to buy rice. So I understand those bits.
But that was before. Time changes everything, people change, technology keeps changing and we are in a new era where kids are smarter than before. And technology is everywhere. And the used to be playtime becomes technology time.
My kids outdoor play includes:
Riding the bike
Running in the garden
Going to skatepark and ride the scooter and skateboard.
I'm going to answer this based on my experience, not with science or how other's people view it. And in technology, I'm only emphasizing the use of mobile phones as this is I'm familiar with. I have two kids and both of them I not deprived to learn new things and having gadgets. But as I said at the start of my article I prefer them playing outside.
I want them to be familiar with the technology. I love to see them learning. I love how technology teaches them so many things. My kids have mobile phones, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and they have their TV to watch their programs.
I am so thrilled every time my 5-year-old daughter Tia, show me things she learned. I love how she learn great stuff watching YouTube and playing with different games.
One day, I was sitting in the chair and Tia on the couch when she suddenly sings a song and to my surprise, she knew the song. She knows the lyrics of it even I don't know that song. She has this game on her phone that she plays on the keyboard and sing with it. And she can have a perfect score and I was like, what?! My baby is really good!
There's this hairdresser's game that she's playing and she's good at cutting hair, colouring it, putting make-up on the virtual model and she can do it beautifully. We only have paper dolls in my time.
She also can play this Minecraft and build a house and everything. Even ask her granny what kind of house she likes, the colour, how big and she really can build it with the garden, toilet, bed in it. I don't have a clue how can she do that and even she shows me it is too complicated for me. But I was really impressed.
My 11-year-old son loves to play games and watch on YouTube. He is the one who thought Tia how to play Minecraft and build houses. And I see nothing wrong with that. They could be my future engineer.
The thing about technology is if we let the kids abuse it. THERE SHOULD ALWAYS LIMITATION. Too much screen time ruin their eyes and their development. If they only play games on the phone, they will not play outside just stay in the house the whole day. And I can tell you it can be very addictive and that is not good. But I set rules for my kids:
If they're watching movies or cartoons they can only finish one movie and in a maximum of 2 hours then they have to take a break.
If they're playing on phones, they can play or watch for about an hour. But good thing Tia and Jigz only take a notion to play their phone. They still love to play with toys and outside the house.
And I always tell them not to watch too close to the tv or don't hold their gadgets too close to their eyes.
No phones in their room. So I make sure that they don't play in the middle of the night.
Their phones have certain restrictions in Settings and it's under "Parental Control". It means that I have to approve what they install on their phone, what games or I can see what they search on the internet. In that way, I know if a certain app is not for them.
And you know what? That gives me a break too! If I'm cooking I know that they're just there especially Tia. I know that she's just playing with her phone. Some days we all sitting on the couch holding our phones. And sometimes we all watch a movie together and that's our bonding moment as well.
And when on flights, phones and tablets are my friends to entertain the kids. And it works like wonders.
But I must admit that as a parent we still must watch our kids using phones or other gadgets. Making sure that what their playing or watching is safe for them as not everything is appropriate for every age. And the virtual world can be dangerous and some are taking advantage of our innocent ones. Parental guidance is highly recommended. Technology is good when you use it right. Gadgets are a powerful tool and you have to take advantage of what it can offer.
Encourage outdoor play and at the same time allowing them to use gadgets in moderation and with parental guidance, I think will not do them any harm.