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How To Balance Life And Technology For Kids?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the teddy-ruxpin-is-my-friend dept.

Technology 425

brs165 writes "Being a newly minted geek father as of 4 months ago, I've thought about problems I've never had reason to consider before. One issue which I'd like to hear from the ./ crowd is introducing technology to their children. What got me thinking about this was a blog post about 'Nature-Deficit Disorder', and I think it brings up some good points. I grew up playing in the local woods and creek with minimal tech until our first computer when I was 13. I hear stories from coworkers how some of their kids/grandkids hating going outside because it is boring and they'd rather stay indoors. Should I avoid introducing them to technology until absolutely neccessary, or is it a matter of achieving a balance?"

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Simple... (4, Funny)

Laivincolmo (778355) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858186)

Just create a simulation of all that icky nature stuff on a computer and plug them in matrix style for 18 years. Then reveal to them their whole life has been a sham up until that point.. :)

SimPark + the real thing (1)

zbyte64 (720193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858368)

There are educational nature games out there like SimPark. I personally enjoyed the game and identifying plant and animal species was a requirement of the game. Mix that in with camping trips and what not, should be a good balance. My parents always took me on hiking trips and stuff like backpacking down the grand canyon. I was first introduced to a computer at 4 y/o. Ofc the most advanced game at the time was pacman or stickman. Personally, I would limit the gamming consoles like xbox and such until they are older, and make them work for the game. I see too many kids that are spoiled and expect 3 new games on every holiday. These same kids also have next to no technological know how. I only have a nes 8 bit and a gameboy btw :-p. While I am probably not the perfect example of a balance... My point is that you don't have to deprive them of computers until they are older, just make sure you incorporate/balance the two and don't let it get to the point where they expect the latest games without earning it.

Re:Simple... (2, Interesting)

Signal_Noise (801973) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858479)

Actually, that's a great topic for another ask Slashdot... If you *could* plug your kids into a Matrix-like simulation and give them the perfect childhood, would you? What would you put in the simulation? Myself, I think I'd do it, as long as my kids get to keep the friends that they grow up with. That could be done by networking simulations of many children together, simultaneously.

Your influence is the number one thing (5, Insightful)

Humba (112745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858191)

I'm a geek dad of 4 kids (9, 6, 4, and 1 yrs). Obviously, a balance is necessary.

But the real thing is: Your kid(s) will be into whatever you're into. If all you do is stay inside with the XBox and plasma TV, don't be surprised if that's all they ever want to do. For Father's Day (in the US) today, I took the boys on a bike ride, then we did waste a beautiful summer afternoon in the movie theater watching Ep 3.

Always look for ways to re-live your youth with them: Legos, Star Wars, bike riding, snow forts, adventures in the woods, baseball, and mindless shows on Cartoon Network all play a part. The computer is just a new element to share together.

--H

Re:Your influence is the number one thing (5, Interesting)

squarefish (561836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858283)

I wouldn't be so sure of this. a good friend of mine has a 6 year old and he's glad that his son shows no interest in computers or video games yet- he's surprised there hasn't been any peer presure from his son's friends. the father is programmer and developer for the main gaming platforms and has all the developer kits in his office. the room is always locked and the son has a play area in the room while his father is working and needs to watch him, but otherwise doesn't participate or pay attention to what his father is doing, which can be particularly useful when he's working on a violent game like area 51. the father is very happy that his son just wants to run around outside and play with real toys for now.

Re:Your influence is the number one thing (3, Interesting)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858378)

obviously balance is key. i think the downfall we will see is crappy parenting more than the evils of technology. too may parents are too busy, just suck or are too paranoid and would rather the kids are in the den with a playstation then outside with kidnappers and drugs and terrorists.

i think most kids WANT to play outdoors. the thing is to find something THEY like. for example if you keep trying to play baseball and the kid would really rather ride a bike, they are going to resist. kids generally have an abundance of energy and if they don't get that out, they will end up overweight and/or medicated for having no attention span in the classroom.

if the kids show too much interest in technology you can always work that into outdoor fun. something like http://www.geocaching.com/ [geocaching.com] is total nrrd fun, and requires leaving the house and poking around.

i guess as much as i was not outdoors, i was not sitting in front of video games or a computer. i was taking things apart and making things. that seems to be lost on a lot of young kids today. the nerdlier ones are more likely to be computer kids. they will look up something online instead of taking things apart to see how they work. hopefully things like Make Magazine will spark a resurgence in DIY gadgetry? that seems to be vital to mechanical creativity. it's like reading about how to ride a bike instead of getting one one and doing it.

Reality beats simulation (4, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858437)

The worst part of using technology is that it is primarily entertainment based. Even Discovery channel etc now competes for viewer time by upping the dramatic component of their shows. Reality, fact etc all get shoved aside to get viewer time.

Which kid learns more about nature? The one who goes down to the stream, falls in and gets wet and finds a few frogs hiding under some branches, or, the kid that plays magic schoolbus field trip game?

Apart from exposure to nature, there are many other things that create a real framework for kids. Yesterday we (myself, wife + kids) planted 60 trees in a grid. We used pythagoras to set things up square. We did multiplication/division etc to calculate how many rows and trees per row etc. We talked about nutrients etc as we added compost that the kids had helped to make some months ago. We talked about harvesting, pruning etc. On top of this, the kids got some exercise!

Nature/Tech (1)

msgregory@earthlink. (98641) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858196)

It depends on what you want your kid to be when he/she grows up.

Re:Nature/Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858237)

Yes. If you want them to be associal goths sharing webcamige with 44yearolds at the age of 18, make sure they never discover what nature is.

Re:Nature/Tech (1)

remahl (698283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858318)

False dichotomy.

Re:Nature/Tech (3, Insightful)

FreakyControl (751781) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858446)

I don't understand this notion of, "We need to have our kids using computers from birth to better prepare them for the future." I didn't use a computer until middle school, then just for word processing. That certainly didn't hinder me from my current position as a PhD. student in engineering.

Think about it, many of us didn't have all of these technological toys when we were little, and we seemed to adapt just fine. Computer usage isn't some sort of esoteric skill that requires years of training to master. It's not like you're trying to levitate cars with your mind.

Perhaps if children were exposed to life outside of the digital babysitter they would develop their imaginations more, and become more creative, healthier (mentally and physically) people. Maybe if more kids ran around outside more often, child obesity wouldn't be so prevelent in our society.

Overall, as with most things a balance is what is necessary. Sure I had my Atari when I was a kid, but I was only allowed to play with it for a certain amount of time. Just as TV was limited. The same can be done with a computer, especially if your child doesn't have all of these technological wonders in their bedroom. Show your child all that the world has to offer and what the imagination can do with it.

And a final thought on, "what you want your kid to be when he/she grows up." - that decision should ultimately be left up to your child once they're old enough to make it, not one that should be forced on them from birth. I've seen many a miserable engineer and computer scientist for just that reason.

Re:Nature/Tech (3, Funny)

SimonShine (795915) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858465)

It depends on what you want your kid to be when he/she grows up.


Yeah, you have to keep the skill cap in mind. Multi-classing sucks because then your kid only advances levels half as fast.

There Is No Life: In The United Gulags of (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858197)

America: Home Of The World's Most Dangerous Person [whitehouse.org] :

I have something important I need to tell you. I anticipate it will result in my receiving a barrage of angry e-mail from Pres. Richard B Cheney accusing me of being stupid, but Cheney needs to calm down and realize that he is hardly the first proponent of self-serving, subversive extremism and he is unlikely to be the last. Although not without overlap and simplification, I plan to identify three primary positions on his teachings. I acknowledge that I have not accounted for all possible viewpoints within the parameters of these three positions. Nevertheless, if he wants to be taken seriously, he should counter the arguments in this letter with facts, not illogical panaceas, personal anecdotes, or insults.

Why is he really so fastidious? Is it because I indisputably seek nothing but justice? Or because his goal is to bathe in splendor while the rest of us go to work in the mines? Well, we all know the answer to that question, don't we? But in case you don't, then you should note that inasmuch as I disagree with his accusations and find his ad hominem attacks offensive, I am happy to meet his speech with more speech and, if necessary, continue this discussion until the truth shines. It's irrelevant that my allegations are 100% true. Cheney distrusts my information and arguments and will forever maintain his current opinions. If the mass news media were actually in the business of covering news rather than molding public attitudes to crush the remaining vestiges of democracy throughout the world, they would unequivocally report that I need your help if I'm ever to invigorate the effort to reach solutions by increasing the scope of the inquiry, rather than by narrowing or abandoning it. "But I'm only one person," you might protest. "What difference can I make?" The answer is: a lot more than you think. You see, relative to just a few years ago, self-deceiving, brain-damaged suborners of perjury are nearly ten times as likely to believe that 75 million years ago, a galactic tyrant named Xenu solved the overpopulation problem of his 76-planet federation by transporting the excess people to Earth, chaining them to volcanoes, and dropping H-bombs on them. This is neither a coincidence nor simply a sign of the times. Rather, it reflects a sophisticated, psychological warfare program designed by Cheney to deny minorities a cultural voice. I honestly wouldn't want to win support by encapsulating frustrations and directing them toward unpopular scapegoats. I would, on the other hand, love to defy him. But, hey, I'm already doing that with this letter.

At the very least, it has been brought to my attention that I, for one, am one of Cheney's victims. While this is doubtlessly true, Cheney is capable of only two things, namely whining and underhanded tricks. You may wonder why he is so short-sighted, I could waver between the alluring promises of a meretricious, detestable "new morality" and the sound dictation of my own conscience. It's simply because he is still going around insisting that his way of life is correct and everyone else's isn't. Jeez, I thought I had made it perfectly clear to him that it is immature and stupid of him to rewrite history to reflect or magnify an imaginary "victimhood". It would be mature and intelligent, however, to provide an antidote to contemporary manifestations of superficial solipsism, and that's why I say that I have to laugh when he says that a richly evocative description of a problem automatically implies the correct solution to that problem. Where in the world did he get that idea? Not only does that idea contain absolutely no substance whatsoever, but he is not just stupid. He is unbelievably, astronomically stupid.

Cheney's self-indulgent recommendations leave the current power structure untouched while simultaneously killing countless children through starvation and disease. Are these children his enemies? I've never really gotten a clear and honest answer to that question from Cheney. But what is clear is that our path is set. By this, I mean that in order to pursue virtue and knowledge, we must build a world overflowing with compassion and tolerance. I consider that requirement a small price to pay because Cheney complains a lot. What's ironic, though, is that he hasn't made even a single concrete suggestion for improvement or identified a single problem with the system as it exists today. Never before have I encountered more bloatedly self-important prose than that which Cheney produces. You'd think I'd be pretty well inured by now to the lunacies of his ruses, but I have to say that his goombahs say, "We're supposed to shut up and smile when Cheney says ruthless things." Yes, I'm afraid they really do talk like that. It's the only way for them to conceal that Cheney is an opportunist. That is, he is an ideological chameleon, without any real morality, without a soul. The interesting point is this: It's certainly a tragedy that his goal in life is apparently to declare martial law, suspend elections, and round up dissidents (i.e., anyone who does not buy his lie that doing the fashionable thing is more important than life or liberty). Here, I use the word "tragedy" as the philosopher Whitehead used it. Whitehead stated that "the essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things," which I interpret as saying that Cheney constantly insists that without his superior guidance, we will go nowhere. But he contradicts himself when he says that he can ignore rules, laws, and protocol without repercussion. Have you ever stopped to consider the enormous havoc and ruin that has been wrought in this world by him and his co-conspirators? I have. That's why I say that Cheney's goal is to condone illegal activities. How high-handed is that? How dishonest? How offensive?

It seems to me that, as others have stated long before me, "faced by such despicable perfidy and the frustration of not being able to respond to the same audiences as Cheney has had, I must undeniably give you some background information about Cheney." Forgive me, dear reader, but I must be so tactless as to remind you that he is careless with data, makes all sorts of causal interpretations of things without any real justification, has a way of combining disparate ideas that don't seem to hang together, seems to show a sort of pride in his own biases, gets into all sorts of pharisaical speculation, and then makes no effort to test out his speculations -- and that's just the short list! His perspective is that there is something intellectually provocative in the tired rehashing of cuckoo stereotypes. My perspective, in contrast, is that one cannot help but notice that Cheney doesn't understand politics or simply doesn't care. In view of that, it is not surprising that Cheney insists that laws are meant to be broken. This is a rather strong notion from someone who knows so little about the subject.

Currently, Cheney's vaporings merely create division in the name of diversity. As you will see before you know it, this is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. We've all heard Cheney yammer and whine about how he's being scapegoated again, the poor dear. Let's just ignore him and see what he does. The central paradox of his biases, the twist that makes his tactics so irresistible to what I call bloody-minded, interventionism-prone paranoiacs, is that these people truly believe that he defends the real needs of the working class. From what I know of Cheney's hastily mounted campaigns, he is saying essentially three things:

1. Sin is good for the soul.
2. The most valuable skill one can have is to be able to lie convincingly.
3. Every word that leaves his mouth is teeming with useful information.

Obviously, all three of these are unquestionably rash.

It would be charitable of me not to mention that it ruffles my feathers that Cheney wants to endorse a complete system of leadership by mobocracy. Fortunately, I am not beset by a spirit of false charity, so I will instead maintain that in order to solve the big problems with him, we must first understand these problems, and to understand them, we must announce that we may need to picket, demonstrate, march, or strike to stop Cheney before he can lead us into an age of shoddiness -- shoddy goods, shoddy services, shoddy morals, and shoddy people. All right, enough of that. Now let's talk about something else. Let's talk about how he is doing some serious mau-mauing. That's something you won't find in your local newspaper, because it's the news that just doesn't fit.

What if we collectively just told Cheney's expositors, "Sure, go ahead and destroy our moral fiber. Have fun!"? That would be worse than crapulous; it would play fast and loose with the truth. It is no news that Cheney has, on a number of occasions, expressed a desire to promote mediocrity over merit. On all of these occasions, I submitted to the advice of my friends, who assured me that we could opt to sit back and let him cause one-sided sound bites to be entered into historical fact. Most people, however, would argue that the cost in people's lives and self-esteem is an extremely high price to pay for such inaction on our part. I realize that elitism is a tremendous problem in our society, but does it constantly have to be thrown in our faces? To ask that question another way, what exactly is his point? This isn't such an easy question to answer, but let me take a stab at it: If he is going to replicate the most testy structures of contemporary life, then he should at least have the self-respect to remind himself of a few things: First, he sees life as a discourteous, neurotic game without any rules. And second, he truly believes that it is not only acceptable, but indeed desirable, to twist the history, sociology, and anthropology disseminated by our mass media and in our children's textbooks. It is just such yawping megalomania, narrow-minded egoism, and intellectual aberrancy that stirs Cheney to inject his lethal poison into our children's minds and souls.

All I can tell you is what matters to me: You might have heard the story that he once agreed to help us bring the communion of knowledge to all of us. No one has located the document in which Cheney said that. No one has identified when or where Cheney said that. That's because he never said it. As you might have suspected, if I wanted to brainwash and manipulate a large segment of the population, I would convince them that Cheney is a model citizen. In fact, that's exactly what Cheney does as part of his quest to shame my name. As one commentator put it, it's easy for armchair philosophers to theorize about him and about hypothetical solutions to our Cheney problem. It's an entirely more difficult matter, however, when one considers that there are two classes of people in this world. There are those who do the devil's work, and there are those who make an impartial and well-informed evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of his quips. Cheney fits neatly into the former category, of course. He does not want to make serious dialogue difficult or impossible because he is goofy, clumsy, stinking, and overweening (though, granted, Cheney is all of the aforementioned), but rather because Cheney's supporters tend to fall into the mistaken belief that every featherless biped, regardless of intelligence, personal achievement, moral character, sense of responsibility, or sanity, should be given the power to needle and wheedle crazy misogynists into Cheney's faction, mainly because they live inside a Cheney-generated illusion-world and talk only with each other. He once heard some unregenerate rabble-rousers say, "Cheney's methods of interpretation provide a liberating insight into life, the universe, and everything." What's amazing is that Cheney was then able to use that single quotation plus some anecdotal evidence to convince his apparatchiks that his commentaries are Right with a capital R, which makes me wonder, "Do blathering misfits like his legates actually have lives, or do they exist solely to create some tendentious, pseudo-psychological profile of me to discredit my opinions?" To answer that question, we need first to consider Cheney's thought process, which generally takes the following form: (1) The only way to expand one's mind is with drugs -- or maybe even chocolate -- so (2) he would sooner give up money, fame, power, and happiness than perform an illiberal act. Therefore, (3) the kids on the playground are happy to surrender to the school bully and thus, (4) we should derive moral guidance from his glitzy, multi-culti, hip-hop, consumption-oriented reports. As you can see, Cheney's reasoning makes no sense, which leads me to believe that this is a free country, and I aver we ought to keep it that way.

The significance of this is that if my memory serves me correctly, life isn't fair. We've all known this since the beginning of time, so why is he so compelled to complain about situations over which he has no control? After days of agonized pondering and reflection, I finally came to the conclusion that I do not have the time, in one sitting, to go into the long answer as to why I will do my best to make efforts directed towards broad, long-term social change. But the short answer is that he can fool some of the people all of the time. He can fool all of the people some of the time. But Cheney can't fool all of the people all of the time. If it were up to Cheney, schoolchildren would be taught reading, 'riting, and racism. Let me leave you with one last thought: Pres. Richard B Cheney's solutions are complete and total offal.

Balance (1)

neurokaotix (892464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858199)

As with most things in life, striking a balance here will prove extremely beneficial. I grew up with a balance between going out with friends, going to parties, playing outside (as a kid), and then going home and coding. What I got out of it was all the glory of being a skilled programmer and lots of fun random drunken sex stories.

I'd have it no other way :)

Re:Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858277)

hahah, yeah right.

Re:Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858377)

... and lots of fun random drunken sex stories

You obviously don't have children of your own yet.

Re:Balance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858381)

I hardly call that a balance. This is a sparkling example of what NOT to do. If you type behavior as "constructive but boring" or "fun but fleeting," you're going to find reality uncompromisingly tepid later on.

Balance means, for instance, approaching your work and hobbies with equal sincerity, so that both are edifying. If you teach your kids to 'putz around but work hard now and then!' they'll never learn to take joy from small things until far too late in life.

In terms of Sunlight vs. CRT, this means letting experiences from both worlds inform and instruct the other. You can't just juxtapose two extremes and say, "There, all balanced!"

That's like trying to balance thin air with lead. Life won't let you zero things out like that.

Re:Balance (1)

Stoopid-Guy0 (814282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858480)

What I got out of it was all the glory of being a skilled programmer and lots of fun random drunken sex stories.
And that odd rash that just won't go away...

If you err, err on the side of the outdoors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858200)

They're going to be surrounded by technology and indoors by everyone they know and everything they do. It won't hurt to counterbalance that with too much outdoors yourself.

First Post? (1)

Agent_9191 (812909) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858204)

Try introducing a way to combine the outdoors and in. An example would be like Astrology. Have the kids look up constellations on the internet and then at night head out with them and go star gazing. Or things like geo-caching. There's tons of things that can mesh indoor activities with outdoor activites (with or without technology) to get kids to enjoy the outdoors. Or in the worst case scenario, over expose them to indoors activities so much that they grow to hate it and would do anything that doesn't involve sitting by a computer/TV for long periods of time.

Re:First Post? (1)

m85476585 (884822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858217)

You mean astronomy?

Re:First Post? (2, Funny)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858260)

An example would be like Astrology

You see son, since your birthday is in early March, you're a Pisces. Today is a 1 star day for you, meaning you should stay inside and play xBox, rather than flirt with the girl next door...

Re:First Post? (1)

m85476585 (884822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858372)

It might be a bad idea to get them into astronomy, especially since a *good* beginer telescope should cost around $400 and will not get used nearly as much as a $400 computer. Don't get a telescope for anything under $200 without *thoroughly* researching it first. It will most likely be a mistake (unless it is a bargain, I got a great 4 inch refractor with AutoStar for $200 at Sam's Club. It is an older model but is is *great*. I think it would have costed around $500 when it was in production). Some good beginner scopes: Orion StarBlast Astro Telescope [telescope.com] , Orion SkyQuest XT6 IntelliScope [telescope.com] , and Meade ETX series [meade.com] . An alternative is digital photography. You can start them out with an inexpensive camera, and in a few years get a batter one with more advanced features (like a Canon Powershot A95). Or Model rocketry (mute sound!) [estesrockets.com] which is very fun and not too expensive. It can be hands-on (building rockets) or you can get a pre-built kit.

Re:First Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858457)

Actually, astronomy is an absolutely brilliant idea. But get a pair of astrobinoculars, not a telescope. Oberwerk makes amazing binoculars for ~$140, and kids will see ten times what they would through a "good" $500 telescope. In fact, I would recommend getting a pair of astrobinoculars long before I would a gaming console. The stars are far more likely to spark their imagination and make playing video games all the more engaging.

gah! (1)

Enjoi (857482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858206)

We should keep technology away as long as possable, because everyone knows that videogames causes violence, and videogames are part of technology... so other technology must do too!

Do as I say or do as I do? (1)

pin_gween (870994) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858211)

Your kids will get involved, especially early on, in the things YOU are involved in. If you want them to be active outside, then you gotta be the role model. As they age, they'll do things they are interested in. Involve them in many activities and theyll choose their path.

social evolution (5, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858212)

I grew up playing in the local woods and creek with minimal tech until our first computer when I was 13. I hear stories from coworkers how some of their kids/grandkids hating going outside because it is boring and they'd rather stay indoors.

Kids raised indoors on computers will adapt better than their parents to a career in cubicle indenture.

-kgj

Re:social evolution (1)

FreakyControl (751781) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858312)

Would that be because that's all they'd know? Perhaps that's not the best solution...Besides, even if office life will likely still suck in the future why make there childhood an equal hell?

Re:social evolution (1)

Lightman_73 (183090) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858333)

Who the hell modded the parent "interesting" ?!?!?!

Jesus! Have you ever heard of something called sarcasm ? ;)

Re:social evolution (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858415)

I agree. My mom taught my two sisters to shop as children. Now, they're professional housewives with an expertise in shopping! They're such good little consumers!

Re:social evolution (1)

Rylz (868268) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858428)

Kids raised indoors on computers will adapt better than their parents to a career in cubicle indenture.

So we can conclude that it is a bad thing to raise your kids completely indoors on computers. Why? All of their future coworkers would resent them for actually liking their jobs!

understanding of science and technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858215)

It is important for a kid to gain a broad understanding of science, engineering, and technology and develop those skills very early on in life since there is somewhat of a developmental time window after which it becomes very hard to learn those things. You cam always learn to appreciate nature later on in life.

Hold off on the tech. (2, Insightful)

duncanbojangles (787775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858218)

You should definitely hold off on introducing all the crazy technology to your kids until they've done some growing up. I loved the days when all I cared about was running around outside in the woods. Anyway, kids that young only use computers to play games, I find. Get them a Nintendo (the original) and introduce them to computers when they want to know more about technology, and not games. First post?

Re:Hold off on the tech. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858400)

I loved the days when all I cared about was running around outside in the woods.

Nostalgia for the simplicity of childhood is what an adult feels when he contrasts his present life with his memories (which have often been filtered over the years anyway), not what kids feel at the time. You didn't suddenly become less happy as a kid when you discovered Nintendo, did you?

I have a younger brother who loves TV, PlayStation, and horrible RPGs on his computer. He also loves archery and baseball. I say you should try to give your kids the chance to enjoy as many activities as possible, but at the end of the day, you have to leave it up to them to decide which ones they like - don't try to impose your own idea of well-rounded on them.

The dot slash crowd? (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858219)

I'd like to hear from the ./ crowd

This ain't the dot slash crowd. You're in the wrong place.

Thank goodness for editors, right?

Re:The dot slash crowd? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858254)

Didn't you hear that /. was just renamed to ./?

Re:The dot slash crowd? (1)

jonfields (643711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858290)

Ya, but no page loads up when i got to dotslash.org

Re:The dot slash crowd? (2, Funny)

Winckle (870180) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858278)

Nah he's right we've all been replaced by very small shell scripts!

Great first step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858220)

But, trust me your wife won't want to live in your parents basement forever. Find your own place other wise your going to have a major case of blueballs.

YES!!!!! (1)

Schumacher Wins (322265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858224)

He did it again!!!!!!!! Schumi wiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnsssss!!!! alonso must be shitting his pants!!!

Monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858228)

I think the key is for YOU to be in charge and to monitor your kids online. Obviously you dont want young children online and to stubmle across an adult website or something of the like.

The best way to introduce them to technology is just like you would anything else. Make it your job to introduce them and watch them online. Kids aren't likely to spend ALL day online if they have a parent behind there backs and thats true of little kids too.

Maybe spend 30 minutes a day showing them how to use it and let them play around with the games and such. Besides, very few young kids actually spend more time on the computer than they do outside... Except for me, but I was like one in a million. ;-)

Technology is not a substitute (2, Insightful)

Lakers (109032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858230)

Use technology as a tool and a toy, not as a substitute for parental guidance like so many do.

In my opinion, children should be introduced to as much as the world has to offer. The problems occur when parents sit a child in front of a television or a computer and say "here, entertain yourself."

These are the kids that grow up with technology as a substitute for guidance. They will obviously become attached.

Moderation and interaction are the key.

Balance? Ha. Who needs it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858242)

...is it a matter of achieving a balance?
Yeah, this is a tough question. You should always think carefully before doing something as fundamentally dangerous as achieving a balance.

Toys that run on kid-power (3, Interesting)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858244)

No batteries, no chargers, just the power of the child's imagination.

There's a reason why they'd rather play with the box than the toy. Respect and support that creativity.

Balanced upbringing.. (1)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858246)

I'd say to give your children a rounded selection of activities, as much as it may be at odds with (perhaps) your own experiences, it may give them a chance to discover what things suit them and make them happy outside of the technology circle whilst still benefiting from any knowledge they happen to pick up from watching what you do (the ability of children to copy behaviours will allow them to pick up extra things from your own specialisms). Overall i think its about giving them a choice to develop any way they might want, and supporting that..

Speaking as one of these kids... (1)

erockett (784008) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858249)

I know I've got a problem with how much I use the computer now. However, when I was younger, I was only allowed one hour of TV every day, and even that tended to be limited to "educational" shows like Bill Nye and Wishbone. I was strongly encouraged to read (which I did a lot) and to play outside. I think this helped me grow a lot more than many of my current high school friends.

Now I use the computer almost all of the time when I'm not in school or sleeping, and I enjoy it a lot. I do think that it's kind of unhealthy though.

I'd say limit your kid's computer/TV/video game time to an hour a day, and perhaps change that as they get older. Let them have some normal extracurriculars before you give them the opportunity to spend that time on the computer.

Re:Speaking as one of these kids... (2, Interesting)

Omnieiunium (872399) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858369)

Are you saying you didn't like Bill Nye and Wishbone?!!

I literally grew up on those shows. I basically watched only PBS. Now I just watch Discovery Channel.
I spend most of my time in my room on the computer when not at school. However I do get outside. I bike to school. I volunteer at the local theatre, so I am not inside all the time. I have been under limits, but they just don't work. I mean, I had all ready been on the computer for hours before so imposing limits would be stupid. Like the parent said, teach your kids that they only have so much time. Imbed it into their minds so they don't become used to spending longs hours on the computer.

Re:Speaking as one of these kids... (1)

erockett (784008) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858403)

No of course I'm not saying I didn't like them! I loved them, and I grew up on them too! And they were very educational. (i kind of knew the quote marks there were a bad idea...)

balance but importantly "who they are" (2, Informative)

somewhere in AU (628338) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858251)

I have 5 kids 15..8 and they all have different interests and we live on 9 acres and I run 80+hr week software business www.findmap.com.au

We have Windows,OSX and Linux and they all have easy access to them when and if they want. I love it when the 8 year old can jump on the Mac and do what they want, and same for the eldest too.

Only the Playstation gets *too* much attention from the teenage boys so I kick them out into the sunshine if I think they're been on too long.

It all works out and even for the youngest doing pages, drawing, internet are as natural now as riding their bikes and just plain messing around outside.

But most of all let them be who they are, whether that be books, socialising or outdoors and keep an eye out to make sure they at least get all the options you can offer them and see which way they lean.

Alex.

Re:balance but importantly "who they are" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858485)

Get one of your kids to tweak your webpage a bit. In the section "For your mobile .. details soon", the bulletted points on the right are in a column far too thin. Depending on which browser I'm using, the following sentence is spread between 6 and 10 lines, where 1-2 would be optimal.
Access from mobile phone network directly to your handset or enabled PDA

NO LINUX! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858261)

It is a dead-end OS and the sound will never work.

moderation (1)

cjsteele (27556) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858262)

Like all things, technology should be balanced with nature, in moderation. You can not do your child justice in having them know nothing about technology, nor can you do them the disservice of creating house trolls. I've got three kids of my own.

OMG that means ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858265)

you've had sex!!!

way to go :O

Re:OMG that means ... (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858375)

you've had sex!!!

Not necessarily. They could be adopted or stepkids.

Re:OMG that means ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858387)

Actually you can have children without having sex. If you don't agree to this, you have to start thinking what your parents did [your age] + 9 months ago.

Seriously. Having children is not always as easy as having sex. Altertatives include adoption, test tube babies etc. Having children requires a lot of work for some people. And you can spent 10 000 dollars pretty easily for medications and doctor bills while doing that.

Re:OMG that means ... (1)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858391)

But it also means he can no longer be a geek. After all, geeks don't have this "sex" thing you speak of.

Or... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858407)

... adapted kid?

Re:OMG that means ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858459)

Whats it like ?

Get out - together with the kids. (2, Informative)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858268)

Give them the adventure of a lifetime! Take your kids for an extended trip..lasting 2-3 days out in the wilderness. At first - they'll probably think you're mad and go crazy over it and want to go home. When the first period of "I-hate-u-dad" are gone, theyll realize that they have no choice but to make the best of it, and then together you'll solve survival puzzle's and discover all the exciting things in nature.. ...there's nothing like the REAL aliens out there - natures own wonders...bugs...in all their colors etc. Your kids are sure to be fascinated. Later - when they get back to their "tech" world...don't hinder them, let them play at will, don't be surprised if they try to look up the bugs at the internet...and want to go "exploring" at some later time in life - because this is the time when you'll bring memories that will live inside them forever!

Hey, it didn't harm me (2, Funny)

mpontes (878663) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858271)

I was introduced to technology and computers at the age of 5 and it didn't hurt me...

Wait, what's this "real life" you speak of?

Strike a balance, but don't hold things back (1)

Subliminal Fusion (253246) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858273)

My dad had me hitting keys on the keyboard before I could talk (this was in the early 80's on an Apple II), but my parents always encouraged me to take up a sport a year or so, let me pick what I wanted to do. I bounced around for a number of years from soccer to basketball to gymnastics (which I did for a few years), then ice hockey (again, for another few years). Of course, they also encouraged me with technology, got me a C64 when I was around 10, let me go to a programming camp for a week or two one summer (around the same age), etc. Just make sure to encourage both and don't push them too hard in any one direction...

First off... (5, Interesting)

Pete LaGrange (696064) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858281)

Try to understand that you're not going to have nearly the amount of input you seem to think you will. Your kids are going to be introduced to a whole host of things without your consent/knowledge.

Once you wrap your mind around that, you can start to prepare yourself to teach them to deal with those things on a rational level.

You're thinking ahead, at least, and that's the first step to success. Good luck, you'll need it.

Pete (father of 8)

Pete, get a vasectomy... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858440)

Pete (father of 8)
Have you heard about this modern-medicine thing? You don't need to have a bazillion kids in order to ensure the survival of one or two. Or do you live in the third world?

Full access but emphasize activity (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858287)

I got hooked on computers at a young age, and only in the last 4 years have I gained an appreciation for exercise and outdoor activities.

I would say, focus on activity and creativity, with the computer thrown in as an occasional diversion.

How to do that? I don't know. I Am Not A Parent (IANAP)

Try to keep them balanced (2, Interesting)

pato perez (570823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858295)

I intended to keep my son away from TVs and PCs, but with a house full of PCs and laptops, it's impossible. At the age of 3 he claimed the ibook as his own. It's probably not too bad; there's some good websites for kids, like pbskids. Plus it's interactive, unlike TV. What's not so good is the advertising--he's always asking us to buy him the candy & snacks he sees. He might as well be watching TV. That's our current battle.

Re:Try to keep them balanced (1)

jumbledInTheHead (837677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858456)

Adblock the advertisements, there is a built in image blocker in Mozilla, and additional adblocker plugin and I know some other things have ad blockers also. There are a few websites that originate most ads, block them and you should lose most, except those flash ads.

When I have kids I plan on getting lots of dvd's of cartoons to avoid the ad problem entirely.

get them outdoors (5, Insightful)

reverse flow reactor (316530) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858297)

Let them see the outdoors, and if technology is there, it is a tool and not the toy.

DO: get them outside, go canoeing, biking, hiking, walking, skiing, camping, exploring, build and launch model rockets (please, lauch outside), build a treehouse... If you must involve technology, bring a GPS and a digital camera (but don't forget a map and compass - be sure they know how to use those when the GPS batteries die). While you are out there, talk to them abou the plants species, the mountains, how the compass works, how the water flows around the canoe and what make the bike stable while it is moving.

What did you enjoy doing outside as a kid? Why not try that? If they enjoy it too, that's great - you are doing somehting you enjoy outside, and your kids are there and having fun too!!

Is it possible for you to even raise your kids without a TV? I can certainly live without a TV (over a year now, almost 3 years depending on how you count it).

DO NOT: buy a Nintendo/PS3/XBox and let the toy babysit the kids for you. People at Slashdot will expel the virtues of how they learned problem solving and "other skills" while playing video games. Well, I learned a few German words playing a foreign game, and picked up some geography from Civ3, but try and keep the video games to a minimum.

Being a parent is an active responsibility (but it can be fun). Just be sure you go exploring. If you are having fun, they probably will be too. If the kids look forward to going biking with dad more than sitting in front of the boob-tube playing Mari Kart 12, you are doing your job well! If they hear "Dad's home, and were building rockets tonight!" and drop the video game in the middle of a game to join you, you are doing great!

Re:get them outdoors (1)

reverse flow reactor (316530) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858348)

to reply to my own post:

You are the Dad, you are the leader. If you start leading them on hiking trips when they are young, and share the beauty of the outdoors with them, maybe they will enjoy that and stick to it. If they are doing something great (maybe they want to join some outdoors club or something) and you like it, then encourage them and support them.

If you do nothing, they will find something to do. And that may very well be playing the same video-games the kids next door are playing.

Re:get them outdoors (1)

daviq (888445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858388)

I agree strongly with no video games for I was raised without them and now at age 14, really don't see a need for them. Instead I learn in my free time(xhtml, html, CSS, Javascript).

Or is it a matter of achieving a balance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858305)

You have answered your own question. Perhaps this is THE job for all parents. To deliver a new child into responsibility involves learning to balance, given a world of endless choices. All this overprotection from parents is just creating a generation with no responsibility and no impluse control. Those that think they are protecting from all these suposed evils are merely creating monsters. Don't make the same mistake.

Real life sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858314)

Let your kids be geeks if they want to be. If my parents thought I needed to get out of the house and socialize, I probably would have turned out like Jeffery Dahmer.

Some thoughts (3, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858315)

Major e longinquo reverentia, as they say - everything looks good (or, for that matter, better) from far away, and forbidden fruits appear tastier.

It's probably a better idea to introduce your kids to computers and all that early on. Compare it to the TV - your kids are most likely going to be allowed to watch TV before they're 14 (or whatever), but that doesn't mean you'll allow them to do it for eight hours each day without checking *what* they watch.

Do give them limits; enforce them, but don't be arbitrary. Above all, make them transparent and understandable - if you tell your kids that they can use the computer, but for an hour only, that's much better than only coming in after an hour and telling them that they have to stop *now*.

Don't give them a bad example; if you don't do anything except sit at the computer (or, more generally, stay indoors) all day, then your kids *will* question why it's bad for them if it obviously isn't bad for you, too.

That's about what I can think of right now. As a disclaimer, though, I don't have kids myself.

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858412)

but don't be arbitrary. .... tell your kids that they can use the computer, but for an hour only

And how is that choice of 1 hour not arbitrary?!?

I must say I've hated that "your time on the computer is up" from my parents even more than I hate it from the sales department here.

If your kids are trying to accomplish something on the computer (say, and art project in photoshop; or a computer program; or an email to friends; or even a video game level) - at least respect them enough to find a logical stopping point so they can close off what they're doing gracefully and continue the next day without losing a lot of stuff.

Absolute hour cuttofs are as as stupid as a rule telling a customer support rep "you can only play baseball for 1 hour". If it's the bottom of the eight inning and his friends are counting on him, they will be very pissed if he leaves mid-game. The same is true if he's trying to accomplish something on the computer. By saying that the clock is more important than whatever he's doing you're really sending a message that his activity on the computer is worthless and can be abandoned at will.

four months (1)

squarefish (561836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858316)

he can't even hold the controller yet- what use is he?

I didn't start until I was 10 (1)

paj1234 (234750) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858327)

Until then I pedalled my go-kart, played in the play-park with Ding-dong (his name was Bell) and the other boys, explored in the woods, etc. This was on a UK Air Force base in Germany in the 70s. There was only one English programme on TV - once a week - The Muppet Show. Based on my experience, I recommend absolutely no computers and no more than 30 minutes TV a week until the age of 10.

Get them into comuters, not games (1)

MentalMooMan (785571) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858342)

If you introduce them to the cool side of computers like the command line early on, but discourage games, then they'll get that good education and also want to go outside when the computer gets boring.

Balance (1)

Col. Panik (700115) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858344)

One of the problems these days is that the kids want to watch too much television (including gaming and computer games.) As a parent you have the power to select activities for your child(ren.) Too often, parents opt to let them vegetate in front of the tv/computer/xbox etc. instead of doing things with them. A park playground offers opportunities to swing, climb, toss a ball, etc. Find a beach at the ocean/lake/river nearby. There the family can take a walk, fly a kite, have a picnic, go fishing, hike, mountain bike and so forth. Be a proactive parent and plan activities that the family can do together. And create 'traditions' that the kids can look forward to. For example, make a big deal of Halloween, or eat spaghetti every Sunday night, or take a walk every morning (easier in Summer?) or after dinner. By doing things together you can reduce the amount of time kids can sit in front of the tv. And THEN provide them with down time where they can do whatever alone or with friends/siblings. Then tv, gaming etc is ok. And what about books? Doesn't anyone read to their children anymore? Read a little together everyday, and you may see your little one turn off the tv unpromted and open a book one day.

It's not that bad... (1)

daviq (888445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858346)

I'm a geek son and my dad just always took us to the park and made us have fun playing tag and such...

TV worse than the net (1)

eur (723031) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858347)

Being a father of three (6, 3, 1) I cut the TV cable and removed the aerial. My kids have 10' of VHS tapes which can always be interrupted for dinner. VHS tapes are much better for kids than DVDs, which damage easily. I buy them second hand for $1 a piece. My kids have their own networked PC at their own height, which is mostly used for games. I can't think of anything they could pull up from the net which I would object to (I will probably soon find out) but the trash on TV is too bad. Now my oldest watches at his friends or his grandparents. He hasn't complained a single time about not having live TV at home. Mobile phones have no secrets for them and sometimes when they are lost I curse myself for not giving them one. Writing my own mobile number in 1" digits on their arm helps in crowded places.

Brain organization & development (1)

randalware (720317) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858355)


Read up on how a child's brain develops !

My opinion is the fast changing images in TV and computer games is a major problem to the development of a child's brain.

TV is not a babysitter & a computer is no subsitute for hands on physical play.

both (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858359)

There's plenty of "tech" which can be used outside.

I remember going out to the desert to go stargazing and learing how to use a compass and read a topographic map. These days, with GPS, satellite maps and a host of other gadgets, there's more than enough to combine geek culture with the great outdoors.

I don't think I've ever met a kid who wasn't fascinated by a really cool telescope.

'Nature-Deficit Disorder'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858361)

'Nature-Deficit Disorder'? I think I have that. I also have a 'Drug&Alcohol-Deficit Disorder' and a 'Assfuck-Deficit Disorder'. So if someone doesn't like something, it's called an Deficit Disorder now?

Old quote.. (1)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858382)

All things in moderation.
I have found that quote to be most appropriate in many situations.. your's included. It applies to eating habits, working, playing.. most anything really.

Welcome to the modern world... (1)

Muvlo Redond (716505) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858385)

The fact is, we are living in a modern world now. And I happen to like my comfortable, air-conditioned home. I do not like staying outside under a hot sun being bitten by bugs, because, you know, it isn't comfortable. Does this mean I am an anti-nature freak? No. I love the smell of the air after rain, and a beautiful sunset can bring me close to tears.

What I'm trying to say here is that yes, I prefer spending my time in front of my computer to riding a bike, but is this truly bad? There is a strong tendency to talk about the evils of single-mindedness and how much better our lives would be, "if only Dad had taken me on camping trips when I was a kid!", and yet here you are, sitting at your computer, reading this message. You can try to inflict your own moral values on your offspring, but I suspect that for most of you, it would simply be an excuse for your own poor behavior; attempting to correct the sins of the father in the next generation.

It's called hypocrisy, my friends.

Yes. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858416)

Keep them naked and make them live under a bush eating grubs and berries. No technology at all: no clothing, no cooking, no housing.

'Technology' is not a synonym for 'computers'.

Blend... (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858421)

Institute "Turn Off" days.. turn off the computer, the TV, everything and break out a milton bradly board game, or a deck of cards. I realize that the idea will be more difficult as the kids get older, but they seem to understand that a videogame is like candy for your mind. Its cool and all, its fun, but it doesn't actually help you do anything. We've also been a lot more open to allowing the kids to pusue physical activities (baseball, taekwondo, gymnastics) that my more "intellectually" minded parents weren't interested in having us pursue. As long as you actually pay some attention to them, they'd be plenty happy tossing a ball around outside, or playing a game of cards, or putting a puzzle together.

Do what is right for you (1)

stupidkiwi (817077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858429)

I have two. About to turn one year old, and a 16 year old. I personally have a policy of "they have to learn to play with the computer and they have to learn how to play with a stick".

I found with the 16 year old that he got nothing out of using the computer at one year old and two years old... Using Amigas he had colour screens, animation and a mouse. Yes it was cute to watch him use the mouse, but that was for the parents benefit more than it was for his. With our youngest, we have a policy of "you can use the computer when you have learned to read what is on the screen". The reality is that you get nothing out of a computer if you can't read what is on the screen. It is a great reward for kids to graduate onto educational software once they have learned how to read from a book.

But don't listen to my ramblings, do what is right for you, your child and your situation. Every child is different, every family is different.

net = porn (1)

clarkie.mg (216696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858435)

Always remember that as soon as you give your teenager a computer with net access in his room, it will be used to download porn.

Balance (1)

opps wrong planet (874583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858441)

I think it's a question of balance. Tech isn't inherently going to make your kid an introvert. YOU as a Dad need to make sure the child gets to see nature, the outdoors, learn where meat and milk and vegatables come from. Once they are in tune with nature and they have access to computers, help them to realis that the internet can teach them many things that can be acted out in "meatspace" not in some virtual shoot-em-up world. You can't just click and download a life...

When used as a tool... (1)

coldmist (154493) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858444)

I built a HTPC to use for many reasons. One of those is as a 'kid computer'. But, The kids don't just veg out playing computer games.

We have a drawing tablet and Disney's Magic Artist drawing program, and my daughter loves to draw with it. She can just hit a little spot on the table to fire up the program, and she's in.

I got one of the USB microscopes, and we look at leaves, seeds, insects, etc. with it. I run the software, but let them place the stuff on the tray and move the magnification around.

I don't want her to "learn the computer" or "play on the computer" as much as using it as a tool to draw, for example. She doesn't need to learn to type yet. She doesn't need to spend hours playing games.

But it can be useful to have access to things you wouldn't have otherwise.

My Perspective On the Whole Thing (1)

LostSinner (546906) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858447)

I have a three year old daughter, and I've struggled with the same issues. The rule I've come up with is that she has no access to video games, computers, or television until she can read. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool, third generation computer geek, but I really think that young children should be focusing on more basic skills until they can read. Reading is really one of the first skills of human abstraction which children must master. Most everything prior to that consists of interaction with the world around them and grokking that world. Allowing children to immerse themselves in the worlds of computers, TV, and video games denies them that interaction. Our generation (and older) can appreciate the "virtual" worlds more fully because we grew up in the outside world; we can compare and contrast and see the benefits/detriments of both. That said, I can't wait for the days when I can totally geek out with my daughter. I can't wait to see how she absorbs the world of computers. A command of and comfort with technology is also a requirement in the world moving forward. Because of that, and because I value reading (offline and on) so much, I've drawn the line at her ability to read. That way, it's dependent upon her development, not upon some arbitrarily chosen age.

Re:My Perspective On the Whole Thing (1)

Dr. Weird (566938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858467)

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool, third generation computer geek.

How old are you: 2 or 3?

Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12858452)

Only allow the children to use the computer/internet when the sun has gone down and be very stern over this point.

Technology is only fun until. . . (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858454)

the pointy stick puts somebody's eye out.

I'd keep them away from it if I were you.

KFG

R U N (1)

Better Than Bacon (828025) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858466)

I think if your kids have a few good friends when they're growing up, then there's nothing to worry about.

My parents tell me that the first word I could spell was RUN on the C64. Despite being surrounded by computer stuff, I never really spent much time with them until about grade 10 when I started thinking about careers and whatnot (or maybe it was because DOOM came out :)

Give your kids a dog! (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858469)

Really, having a dog to play with and take for walks makes going outside and walking actually fun! A husky is the ultimate physical exercise machine - and the best friend you can ever ask for.

Huh (5, Funny)

Elshar (232380) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858472)

Am I the only one that misread the title as "how to Load balance life, technology, and kids"?

I'd say balance (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858474)

Based on personal experience (I'm almost 21 now), I'd say keep computer interaction to a minimal. I grew up out in the country surrounded by woods, pond, stuff like that, and I loved it. We had an Apple IIGS for as far back as I remember. I spent a good amount of time on it with various educational games (spelling, math, some drawing, puzzles, some midi software... Must....not....reminisce....), but not too much. The only major difference compared to today would probably be a) more graphical and b) Internet. I'd keep his exposure to the internet restricted for a while until it was necessary due to ease of addiction. Some educational games would be good, but old fashioned ways to learn work just fine. I'd also stay away from consoles for as long as possible. I wanted one, but I didn't get one till the SNES (1st grade. Friends still find it crazy that one of the biggest game freaks in our grade didn't have a NES). Then again, here I am on slashdot, so maybe that's not the way to raise a child... But it sounds good.... Computer Technology is "new" to us, but for it to be a standard "normal"... Seems dangerous.... Like how the normal "TV" has caused problems for some in our generation.

Get a tivo... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858484)

As a Dad, one of the nicest things I discovered was tivo gave me absolute control over the TV. My little one never got to watch a live feed, but rather only got to watch what I had recorded - and also required intervention as each show ended to do something about it. I've seen way to many parents - and it is damn easy to do - just plop their kids in front of the tube and tune in PBS for what can quickly turn into half a day.

On the plus side, you should get in the habit of time shifting your TV watching. The odds of having a TV on for you to watch something while the little one is awake are slim. What little free time you actually have left over should not be wasted on commercials...

it's a tool (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12858486)

Let them know it's a tool for learning and playing as most of us geeks know. Teach them how to use it (and I mean use it, not load super magic blast penguin 12 or whatever the latest fad is for children in the next ten years) and then let them use it if they want. Some kids will never want to go out, others will never want to use a PC. Let them decide what they do unless it becomes counter productive, then edge them more towards the other (AKa Hey I'm going for a bike ride tomorrow, wanna come?" for example. Just remember not to abuse it and force them not to do/to do something unless they REALLY must because it'll make it ten times more tempting. Encourage them, not discourage
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