Amidst all of the challenges in parenting over the last year with virtual schooling and social development, the view on tech influence has been front and center. Managing screen time and permissions has become more important than ever and it boils down to a big component; Talking Tech with the Kids.
Recently we took a small break. With just a few hours of travel we were able to change the scenery and recharge the batteries.
Kids kept up with school. With a tablet and a wifi connection we you can do just about anything anywhere. So with that also came the recreational screen time as well.
So too did the screen eyes.
Just Before Breakfast
Being an early riser, I usually witness the morning routines of everyone around me. It's quite an interesting spectacle with breakfast choices, outfits being worn and hearing the first words that come from everyone at tip-top of the morning.
The other day, I noticed in the younger kid, something I knew all too well, "Screen eyes". They were exactly what I recognized when sitting in front of a smart phone or laptop for too long in one sitting.
Part zombie, part asleep, & part dazed... Still not sure about the confused part.
The point is, that it was obvious what was happening for sometime prior to emerging from the bedroom.
Most likely had squirreled away his tablet and was watching it under the blankets.
Where Challenge Exists Opportunity Follows
While this wasn't the first instance, nor the first time a conversation had taken place, the focus has intensified over the last weeks, months and year.
How to have the conversation without being completely dictatorial and leaving lessons unlearned that could amplify the future more rapidly.
So there we were, just the two of us sitting at the breakfast bar. Everyone was still asleep and we had the conversation.
Me: How did you sleep & what time did you get it up?
Him: I slept good, have been up for a little while. I don't remember.
Me: Glad you slept well, you look like you might have been tossing and turning. Did you have your Fire in bed with you.
Him: (sheepishly looking at me) Yes, I watched my favorite shows this morning.
So from that exchange, which was pleasant and honest we went in another direction.
Instead of talking about what he could do better and why staring at the screen the first moment you wake up in the morning could be disruptive to his day, I talked about what I did.
Morning breathing routine
Second favorite book
Water then breakfast.
Lead by example right? It's tough because there are those moments when you're working on your own screen and you know it is setting and example that you don't necessarily want to have happen yet it is something that you must do for the moment.
Lead By Example
I've already had great opportunities to showcase different health and wellness routines, from having a rebounder accessible in the living room to sitting in the ice bath for a couple minutes at a time and asking for help to break the ice in the morning.
Personally, it's not my place to be the deciding official of what kids do and don't do. Keep them physically safe. Provide the environment where the minds can grow and develop and try to stay out of the way. Most of our parents did a great job in planting programs in our minds as young ones that were appropriate only for the generation before us.
So, leading by example is such a strong communication tactic. Kids will try to imitate or mimic what they see or hear, so it goes without saying be mindful of your words and actions as they will have much larger impact down the road.
There are a couple more things that come to mind.
Talking Tech and Crypto
The other side of leading by example is having the conversation about how technology that is meant as a helpful tool can become a crutch without us realizing it.
I have found that using stories and comparisons to different activities to be the most helpful. For example, while talking about screen time, generating excitement about physical activities such as going for a walk, taking the dogs to the beach, or even helping create an amazing food creation for dinner.
The outcomes can be seen more as a gradient as not all the time does it resonate, but repetition is the mother of skill, so you have to do it day in and day out.
When it comes to crypto that's an entirely different story and have tried several different approaches.
The Crypto Talk
I think we have all done it, tried to talk about paper money, credit card money, atm money and now crypto money.
As adults somewhere along the way we forgot what it was like to be a kid and understand that intellectual descriptions have a fraction of the impact that we think they do.
Alas, talking about all of these things, amounts to not much more than some hot air.
The other part of the crypto talk has been using technology to help relay the importance of crypto and what it actually can do.
I have found this discussion has risen from everything from kids looking over my shoulder while trading and starting to talk about candles and wicks, to finding interesting games like Uplands.me for example to show how activity is much more pervasive than one would think.
They all work
Whatever approach you employ, they all have impact. The key tenets of talking with kids about tech and crypto is having clear intent from your adult perspective.
Giving the kids as much room as possible to grow and develop without stymying creativity and innovation too boot. That's a tough one because most of us in the world have been programmed to think that any kind of parental role needs to be guarding, teacher and know-it-all. That is until we are told "we know nothing"... You recognize that right?
Point being, the affect you have on young minds comes down to every aspect of your being and the next generation relies on you to do your best work, well, me too.
Be sure to leave a comment and share what is working for you in terms of talking tech and / or crypto with the young ones in your life, be blessed!