something that drives me absolutely nuts is when a crying baby or toddler is consoled with technology. think: yo gabba gabba on an iphone, a toy that makes noise or has blinking lights, a DVD player in the backseat of the car...
don't get me wrong, there have been desperate times when i too have resorted to using the yo-gabba-gabba-trance to calm my daughter. but, every time i see it happen i always wonder what people did before this technology was available? what did our parents do? our grandparents?
there is a lot to be said about how we raise kids now vs. how the last generation was raised. but more and more i find that i am nostalgic for my own childhood. i like "old" things. i like vintage. it makes sense to me that i would be drawn to a different style of parenting than what goes on today (*please know that i am speaking very generally here. i am well aware that there are thousands of different styles of parenting. this issue is just something i see quite often*).
the real problem i have with using technology (to CALM a child. not in general. heck, i'm on my computer right now) is that it is simply a distraction from the real issue. instead of trying to understand what's wrong with the child or help him/her express themselves we just shove a phone in their face and say, "shhh...watch gabba." how will we ever know how to properly care for our children if we ignore the underlying issues? in fact, flashing lights and lots of noise can actually make the problem worse. "The proliferation of technology...further handicaps children in their quest for calm. Computer games, with their beeping and flashing and demand for tight electronic focus, further compromise community and core brain calm." (source). wouldn't it be more beneficial to us AND our children to actually parent them than to just treat the "symptom," not the problem? kids cry for a reason and it's our job as parents to understand why. it's our job to help them understand themselves why they are upset. and then it's our job to comfort and console, not the TV's.
to those like me, who resort to technology either every once in awhile or everyday, i propose a challenge: let's go ONE WEEK without entertaining our kids with a TV/computer/phone screen. just ONE week. let's see what we learn about our kids, and ourselves, in the process. we can do it! plus, think of all the one-on-one time you'll get with your child(ren). all the time that may have been spent watching TV or playing a computer game will now be spent with you. what a blessing!
a few good related reads:
-are we overstimulating young children?
-kids and overstimulation
-the rise of ADHD: is technology to blame?