Well, we did it – we are now on the last chapter of “Discipline Without Distress” by Judy Arnall and ready to move on to our new book, “Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate. You can order it through Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Hold-Your-Kids-Parents-Matter/dp/0375760288/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279245565&sr=8-1
Let’s finish this book up! This last chapter is entitled, “Technology Without Distress: Educate, Not Ban.” Despite the title of this chapter, the author makes a great case for the fact that babies, toddlers, and school-aged children do best with hands-on learning and have no need for technology in the Early Years and Early Grades (see for yourself on pages 368-371).
Judy Arnall writes in the beginning of the chapter about how we are currently in a generation gap due to technology. She equates things such as instant messaging to book discussions thirty years ago, the internet to encyclopedias, books, microfiche thirty years ago. She notes that “of all the electronic devices designed to make adult and children’s lives easier, computer and video games, as well as instant messaging and the internet, are the major concerns of disciplining and parenting.”
Her first topic to tackle is one of safety on the Internet and how to discuss this with children, how to talk about the fact that what one says in email and on the Internet is permanent (including photographs and video). I think one could also add that the computer should be in a public place of the house, and that there should be ways to block certain content of the Internet.
In her section regarding “Games, Games, Games….What’s the Difference?” the author equates an adult getting a scrapbook kit or golf clubs and being told you can only scrapbook or play for one hour on Saturdays. She writes, “You are probably feeling disappointed, angry, and frustrated at the limitation, especially in spite of this whole new world opened to you. This is probably how a child feels for the first time she experiences a computer or video game.”
I personally think this makes a great case for introducing technology later rather than sooner. I think that small children especially can have a rather “more”-ness about them with rather poor self-control as this is part and parcel of being a child. Adults can be like this as well, but hopefully an adult can temper the “more” they want and look to themselves for happiness, for creativity. I am not certain video games provide a helpful teaching tool for that, especially after all my research on boys and how boys can become easily “visually addicted”. I will refer you to Don and Jeanne Elium’s “Raising A Son” for more regarding this.
Judy Arnall cites the good things about gaming, including academic benefits, life skill benefits, and socialization benefits. She talks about the need for moderation and considers if her teenagers are involved in other activities that it is all working out okay, and she advocates for a balanced life.
I personally feel most of the suggestions in this chapter, especially the section on gaming, was aimed more at teenagers (except for the pages 368-371 listed above) than smaller children. However, one certainly is seeing a big push for computers and games for small children in pre-school and kindergarten and certainly in the elementary school years, at least here in the United States.
Judy Arnall admits she has a “pro-gaming” stance. For the other side of this argument, I will direct you all to this post from the Alliance For Childhood: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/learning-more/articles-on-aspects-of-waldorf-education/fools-gold-a-look-at-children-and-computers.html
Please share with other mothers how you handle media (TV, computers and gaming) in your homes along with the ages of your children. Help other mothers make informed decisions for their families.
And please do look for the first post in our next book study!