My children are digital natives. They speak the language of computers and accept their presence as unquestioningly as I accepted telephones and record players when I was a child. I have deep worries about the way screens seem to absorb us and distract us while real life unspools in front of us. I want to shield my children from screens for a while as I teach them (hopefully by example!) how to use computers and technology for good purposes in disciplined ways.
One of the teaching things that my husband and I stumbled into began when he cleaned out a drawer of stuff. Ben asked if he could have the old cell phone. There was no sim card in it, so my husband handed it over with the charger. It still plays a few ring tones, takes pictures, and has a few simple games. Ben adores this little dose of adult screen time. Then Genevieve got the next old cell phone, which can also make short videos. She adores making little films of her life, filled with kid jokes, inappropriate noises, and strange blurry angles.
Any time they use the phones inappropriately (usually when specifically told to put the phone away, bringing it to the table, or playing on it instead of doing chores), my husband and I confiscate the phones. One child had a phone removed for three weeks. That child is a much better listener after that loss of privilege!
No need to buy DS systems or other electronics for kids like their friends and cousins have! The children love controlling their own little cell phones. It's a very thrifty way to let kids interact with screens!
What access do your children have to screens and their own personal electronics? I'm sure this only gets complicated as they get older. Thoughts and advice, please.