Brave Writer Podcast: What About Technology? with Lindsay McCarthy
We’re so connected to technology (ahem blog!). We carry these magic little screens with us everywhere – and if you’re anything like me, it can start to feel like a third arm! We use them for work and for entertainment, and when our kids see us using these tools, they want to use them too.
What feelings come up when you hear the phrase “screen time”? Do you ever wonder:
- How much screen time is too much?
- Are my kids getting any value from screen time, other than entertainment?
- Am I modeling my own tech behavior appropriately?
Explore the answers to these questions–and more–as I talk with Lindsay McCarthy, our special guest of honor in this episode of the Brave Writer Podcast Season 5: Ask Julie.
We discuss strategies for fostering a family culture that values what technology offers, without letting it take over.
I share fun, simple tips & tricks for shifting technology from a burdensome habit to a tool that complements your lifestyle.
Pour yourself a warm cuppa and settle in—I’m excited to have you along with us!
What about technology?
Technology is a great tool, and Lindsay acknowledges that. However, their family also values reading and spending time outside – and it’s hard to find where that line should be!
For starters, we want to demystify the romantic notion of a physical book. There are certainly benefits to reading from physical books, but there are also benefits in using the resources like Kindles, Audiobooks, or Gutenberg.org.
If you value reading, strip away worries about the delivery system. Reading matters, and today it comes in so many more formats and opportunities than ever before! As homeschoolers, we have a tendency to romanticize the past. Sometimes we devalue our onslaught of options because they don’t match our idyllic view of what homeschool “should be.”
We also need to join our children in their technology time. It can be convenient to give your child a device when you need to get some work done – and this is a completely fair and reasonable thing to do – but if that’s their only time with screens, it can give technology a certain “taboo” feeling.
So if you, like Lindsay, give your kids two hours of screen time while you do your work, follow that up with together screen time. Ask them to show you their favorite YouTube video or what they’re doing in their favorite game.
This also allows your child some time in the driver’s seat, giving them an opportunity to teach you!
- Start quantifying how much reading your children do each day in total, books and otherwise. Start observing and making a list when you notice reading showing up in your child’s life. For example: reading comments/discussions online, reading a grocery shopping list, or reading instructions. Where else is reading showing up in your child’s life?
- Get interested and become a partner in their interests. After tech time, ask what your child’s favorite video was and why. Really value what they learned in your absence. Your child’s work in Minecraft is every bit as real as your work. It just looks different to you! Showing interest in their tech time will also remove “taboo” feelings.
- Integrate what your child watches (like Minecraft or unboxing videos) into everyday life when possible. Be curious, but let them lead! Create shared experiences. You could film your daughter or son unboxing something. You could use an interactive YouTube video to create something like slime, water beads, baking, etc.
- Pay attention to how you talk about tech. If it’s emphasized as something needing control and management, or a reward and entertainment, then it’s giving it more power as an exciting thing.
- Let tech complement your lifestyle. Parents support their children’s interest in the following ways: resources, research, transportation, and money. On the back end, use educational language to keep track of the observations that encourage you – in a list, a journal, etc.
- Let Minecraft be a friend for learning, rather than as a reward for after your kid is finished learning.
- Instead of focusing on the amount of tech time, focus more on your level of engagement within their own lives. You will start to build a craving for more shared experiences.
- Add elements of surprise into your everyday lives. Like strewing – once your kids go to bed one night, lay out something they can discover in the morning. Act like you don’t know anything about it. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Videos are endlessly surprising, so adding these types of activities will bring more joy, surprise, and mystery of early childhood into your family.
Tags: Ask Julie