How to Keep Your Kids Creative in a Technology-Crazed World (Part II)

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Video games.

Cell phones.
Our children are surrounded by so many technology temptations.  Whether you like to believe it or not, our kids really do not need all that it offers.  
If you’ve missed Part I in this series, I encourage you to hop on over and read it here.
I think we as parents have compromised a little too much when it comes to this whole technology issue.  After all, it is nice to take a break and have some peace and quiet everyday while they play video games.  After all, so and so has a cell phone and even though she is only 10, her parents thinks she needs it so it must be okay, right?
This is what happens when we don’t set standards and stick with them.  
As I mentioned in my last post, my oldest daughter is very inquisitive.  Her occasional use on the computer for researching whatever she was somewhat obsessed with became just that, an obsession.  It was hard to pry her from the computer.  Although she was doing something kind of useful, research, she forgot about all of her awesome books she hadn’t read yet.
It was born, the little craving for technology grew into an obsession that didn’t just stop at the computer.  It then grew into wanting a cell phone, which then opened up a whole other obsession all in it’s own.
Let me remind you that technology is not evil, but look around at the children, tweens, teens.  What do you see?  Most will have some sort of technological device.  I believe that this is a huge problem with the coming generations.  Why?
Because it is diminishing the flames of creativity.  What’s creative about most video games?  What’s creative about snapchat, texting, facebook, etc?  Even when they text, they don’t use correct grammar, but the shortest possible spelling they can come up with.  Part of this is due to popular slang lingo, part of it is just laziness.
When our kids lose their creativity, there in it’s place is a form of selfishness.  These kids need to be entertained because they forgot how to entertain themselves.  They can’t just sit and read a book, draw or write because they have no desire to.  Their desire is to text someone so that they can get a text back.  Their desire is to show their friends a selfie, not because they are thinking of others, but themselves.
They don’t have a desire to create an adventure outside, because they can play a video game that requires no effort.  Speaking of video games, we have had two game systems given to us because the previous owners bought newer versions.  My kids were ecstatic but they knew there were going to be limitations.
It’s simple really, to set limits.  But, I think parents can cave too easily and give in to their child’s wants.  That is key.  We must not compromise on this.

We give our kids one day of the week to play video games.  I let them play on Fridays only when their school is done and all of their chores are finished.  There are special circumstances, like if my husband and I go out on a date, where we allow them to play extra.

Even with that one day of video games, I notice their fixation on it.  Imagine if I let them do it daily?  If they momentarily have lost their creativity because of their once a week video game usage, I have been known to order them outside and lock the door(in warmer weather, of course!).  There is something about nature that gets those creative juices flowing.

As far as cell phones go, when our daughter was old enough to drive, we allowed her to get one.  She did become obsessed with it.  So, she was not allowed to have it in her room at night.  Once she went to college, we talked to her if we felt she was using it too much.  At 19, it’s one of those things that we are more hands-off at this point.  She is in basic training right now and she is not allowed to have her phone for two months and I’m glad.

But, my other children will one day have the urge to get a cell phone.  My son is 14 and has no interest in computers or phones.  I’d like to keep it that way but also teach him the basics of computer usage.  

After seeing what cell phones are doing to other teens, we are adamant on just allowing him to use a cell phone when he can drive and is away from us.  There is no use for it when we are all together.  I think that is when the obsession starts.

And that is how it will be with my younger ones too.  

We also have to set the standards on ourselves as well.  Are we always on our phones or iPads?  If so, don’t be surprised if your kids will want to follow your example.  It’s easy to do, I admit.  I have a business and a blog and it requires a good bit of time on the internet.  Sometimes, I get sucked right in.

Then I remember what it must look like to my kids.  Am I constantly shoving their needs aside so that I can get something done on my website?   Granted, it is work and they know that.  If I were just sitting here playing games or scrolling through Facebook it would not be justifiable.  Sometimes work on here just needs to get done and I explain that to them, but business or not, our kids need us.

Always remember that they are watching you.  And one day they just might come back and use you as an example of why they think they can be on their phone so much.  Ouch.
So, to recap:

1.  Set limits.  Set your own standards on what you think is best for your kids.  

2.  The key is to not compromise those standards.  Things will go downhill pretty quickly if you do.

3.  Our kids need to earn their time with video games.  It’s not a freebie in this house!

4.  Be their example.  

What are ways you keep the technology obsessions at bay?