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My Kid the Luddite

The kid is becoming a bit of a Luddite... Not in a go out, grab a hoody and blow some stuff up kind of way... He just isn't always a fan of technology.

We kind of swore of television for Miloh before he was born... Then slipped a bit when he was super-crazy new and we were super-crazy tired... We let him watch Planet Earth... I know, scandalous.

Then we went cold turkey on television for a long while until he was a toddler and mornings were just a little bit better with a cat and a also a hat. Our doctor had said a little bit before bed was ok too... As long as he had under a half hour a day... And most days he didn't hit that...

Although he learned good stuff from TV... Seriously he learned a lot of words from Sesame St... We did notice he got hooked fast...

What I'm trying to say here is the kid was watching television and while it was either nature shows or PBS stuff we always felt a bit guilty. So we shut it off again with the exception of a little Busytown Mysteries or fish nature shows (his fave) when he’s asleep.

That's all his love of technology... But he did have moments of total hatred of it... And we didn't see it at first.

He started to hate our phones but it took some time to notice. Any time they were out he'd become really naughty, biting, hitting us and such. The same with our laptop except when we were watching Danny MacAskill do his thing, which we still watch… I won’t count the bike videos as screen time because that’s more training for when he starts to ride. He’s learning a ton by watching and so this screen time is invaluable.

It's tough to not be connected these days... It only took a few years but being connected all the time became the norm for everyone... But now we're trying to give it up when he's around... Well we've pretty much given it up when he's around.

I started unplugging because I did something dangerous... Istarted reading. I won’t regurgitate that article and I suggest reading it but the gist is that parents being plugged in is not so good for the kids.

And it makes me think about how to raise MF…

I was never thinking we’d be too quick on getting him his own iPod, iPad or anything like that... And not to offend, because I never do that, but I just don’t get why people hand them to their super young kids… First they’re expensive and second kids still like crayons and such.

I was intrigued by the Nook color's (and I suppose now the Nook Tablet's) interactive books for kids... Thought about buying one for an upcoming long ass plane ride but then balked…

I balked (if I’m using that baseball term correctly) because I read some more; AParent’s Struggle With a Child’s iPad Addiction, Aregadgets bad for kids? and the more general NYT collection about your brain on computers

All that stuff makes me want to keep MF analog for as long as we can.

I want to keep him away from tablets and phones and laptops until he really needs them for school. Some would say I’m setting him behind others… Sure keeping him away from that could hurt his chances of being a 12year old app mogul. But I’ll take those chances.

Before he was born I thought about how I'd get him drawing on the computer early because I have all the best software and why not get him good early so he can kick ass?

But, I think of my nephew and technology. Computers and cameras were around when he was young but he didn't really start using them until he was in his young teens... A handful of years later he's a freaking master and in an amazing film school...

Being late to the tech table didn't hurt him at all.

In reality it probably helped him.

Knowing how to do things the analog way, like actually draw with pencil and paper, separates the great people from the rest. I’m sure there are some amazing artists who go straight to a computer and can’t draw but some of the best stuff I’ve seen starts from a sketch.

That being said I’m trying to go more analog.

While totally hypocritical I got a Nook Simple Touch… The black and white kind. Partly because I thought I’d be tempted to hand a tablet to the kid… But also because while digital it has a similar affect on your brain as a regular book because of a reflective screen, as compared to a tablet with a backlit display. More about backlit displays and sleep here.

(Side note I actually read another article, that I can’t find, about how some dude dumped his iPad as an eReader because when reading he’d spend more time playing angry birds than read… That would be me.)

I actually notice the lack of screen difference in my life… I’m used to being in front of a TV or computer before bed and I have trouble sleeping… Now that I turned off the backlit screen and read the Nook I actually sleep better. And for those who think I fall asleep because I’m reading that’s what I’d do at night from on my mac.

So not really sure what the moral is here… I’m taking a cue from the kid and unplugging quite a bit.

As a kind of P.S. I read anotherarticle about why a guy dumped his iPhone. I don’t have an iPhone, I have an android phone, but really it’s the same idea. Now I’m thinking that when my next upgrade time comes around I’ll actually downgrade.

Moral of the story: I read a lot

Ladies and gentlemen... An example of pencil and paper before a computer.

The print of this is over Miloh's bed... He calls it big elephant but it's a mammoth. Maybe if we had him watch Ice Age he'd know the difference.


  1. I don't like giving my phone to my boy because it's so easy to do the wrong thing when I'm not looking, and this thing is an expensive toy, but I do appreciate the fact that books become interactive (his favorite app now is a dictionary + games from DK)(he's almost 4, by the way). I think it's like a lot of things: when used in moderation and while supervised, it's not that bad (at least for me). I don't think leaving kids in front of the TV just to great a break is good (although I'm not going to judge people who do that--kids aren't always easy), but thank god there are endless opportunities for us to destroy our kids, we're bound to stumble onto one. (Years from now, we'll say we were too over-protective / We weren't around to guide them / We didn't just let them be / We weren't structured enough / We were too strict / We were too easy on them...)

  2. @bloggerFather everything you say is true. And no matter how you raise your kids you're screwed or you win.

    I watched a lot of TV growing up. I know every iconic TV spot from the 80's. Now I'm in marketing. I don't think it's a coincidence.

  3. We watched a lot of movies growing up & I think I learned from them - lessons that are perhaps easier to teach with visual examples & stories. Isaiah has recently become obsessed with the iPhone & iPad. It was an accident; we didn't teach him. He's not allowed to play on the iPhone anymore because he goes crazy if we take it away & well we use our phones so we're always taking it away. We still let him play on the iPad though in moderation at specific times & time periods & sometimes when I leave it out on accident & goes, "a pad, a pad!!!" I like the interactive books & educational games (Duck Duck Moose is my favorite) so I don't mind him playing on it. And sometimes it's pretty awesome on a long drive or when I need to take an important call. Unfortunately banning technology from the house is impossible for us because my 6 year old stepson is already ADDICTED to anything technology - iPad, iPhone, XBOX, Wii, Nintendo DS - I got in too late on that one.

  4. Yeah, south park was my boys fav show up till he was two. Now it's iPads and action movies. Good times.


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