Fall ball has started and the boys are having a blast. Another season, another team and a fresh new uniform! I find myself sitting in the stands cheering them on and offering the only advice I know about baseball – – “Keep your eye on the ball!” reminding them to focus on the only thing that matters at that split second in time. If they look down or over at the stands when the pitch comes in they will strike out.
Every now and then we need a little reminder that it is okay to say no to the computer, no to the cell phone and no to the video game. Parents get swayed by peer pressure just as much as kids do. Everyone else is doing it and we don’t want our kids to be left out so we give in. We get distracted with life and forget the basics sometimes. But we have to remember to keep our eye on the ball and not strike out with our parenting. We only have a very short childhood window (seems like a split second) to set a good foundation for our children and they should be focused on doing that stage well. They have their whole life to get saturated with technology. Give them the gift of some tech-free days during the week or tech-free weeks in the year. How about a video-game-free year all together or no cell phone until you are responsible enough to brush your teeth without me reminding you to do that every day? Just some things to think about, Mom. Revisit your parenting goals and make sure technology isn’t making your child stressed or irresponsible.
- that gaming/texting raises the levels of dopamine in their brains.
- gaming activates the limbic system (pleasure center) while shutting down the frontal cortex (thinking center); actually re-wiring their brains.
- that they will grow to love the things they spend time on and lifelong habits begin early.
- that tech addiction is very real.
- that to date, no child has ever died of a video-game-playing-deficiency or not having a cell phone (despite current middle school surveys!).
- there is a growing number of families who are pulling the plug and refocusing on balanced childhoods.
If your child is nagging you constantly, if he is spending too much isolating time in front of the screen, if he is not enjoying being outside, reading real books, playing with some sort of ball or sport, or riding his bike it may be time to just say no for now. Step back and look at the big picture. He gets plenty of screen time in school and can take a break at home. Don’t stress over how you are going to manage content and apps and figure out who got what amount of time on what screen. I give you permission to just take a break, and a deep breath, and calmly say no. Replace the game with another hobby. Protect his childhood now and then equip him to use tech responsibility when he is an older teen.
Keep your eye on the ball, Mom, and focus on what you know in your gut (and heart) is best for your child. He will live through some game free seasons in his life and be better for it. Mom, I am cheering for you in the stands: “Keep your eye on the ball!” And, I added a new cheer: Give me a “N”, Give me a “O”…. “NO!” You can do it! Go team!