We've been reluctant to take the technological plunge, in my household, for kids. But this year my six year old Sicily was begging for a Nintendo DS, and it seemed unfair to make her share it with my four year old John. So they both got one, and we caved in and got a Wii as well.
After the initial excitement, the Nintendo's have largely remained on the kitchen counter, plugged into their chargers. Out of sight, out of mind. Sicily enjoys the fashion and cooking games once or twice a week, and John likes the cooking and PacMan. Now the novelty has worn off, like any new toy. I think they are a little young. With the Wii, they both are more satisfied to create little Wii Mii's and drop them into the mall than play any other games, as of yet. Now that they are back at school and activities - piano and swim - and we are into the swing of reading at night, the Wii is rarely on.
I worry about exposing my kids to too much Internet - as of right now it is largely limited to weekend mornings when my son grabs my laptop and brings it into my bed in the morning. We look at YouTube videos of snowstorms, tornadoes, and earthquakes, as well as snakes and spiders. We always end up on the birthday ecards at American Greetings - they both have enjoyed them for years. There was a hairy moment when John clicked on that Christina Aguilera and friends video "Lady Marmalade," advertised at the bottom of the screen, and we listened for a little bit, until Pink started massaging herself (Yikes!). I worried about the message he was getting, at four, so I closed it out and said the battery was dead. He still asks for that video, weeks later. "Mom! Play that song with the pretty girls dancing!" I claim it is lost.
Their school has an Apple lab where they are learning basic computer skills. But I dread the day when they will need computers and the Internet, for their assignments. I have heard about restrictions that can be placed on Internet access by cable connection lines, and I am all for that, even thought I don't know the details or logistics yet.
I think, based on my parent's decision to not have TV's in our room growing up (about which I groaned on a regular basis, but am ultimately glad of), that I will do the same for computers. Place one in a central location, where they can be monitored using them at night. No smart phones (easy to say now), and I definitely plan to place strong restrictions on access to the computer and video games. The studies in the article are compelling, and they just make good sense.
I am posting this because I am strongly interested in comments or ideas, especially from people with children older than mine who are already tackling this issue. I got some of my best nursing, sleeping, and eating advice -- when my kids were younger -- not from books but from mothering blogs and chat rooms. The moms in the trenches, or those having just crawled out, seemed to have the best advice. And since every child is different, I learned I had to try and fail a few times before I found a solution that worked for each of my own kids. Thought I might start a little early with the Internet, after reading this article.