In response to THIS BLOG that posted today on the front of the Press Democrat’s Find It section, Matthew Gollub, a local children’s author had some sound advice I wish to share with you…
(From Matthew Golub) Thank you for your article “Clicking our way to future” which I just read in the PD. You put your finger on a new reality for family life in our community.
Like yours, my family watches little of anything produced for TV. Also like yours, my wife and I spend a good deal of time in the evenings on-line. And, like families everywhere, we’d probably do better to divert our eyes from the computer screen and personally interact a little bit more. Here’s the thing that saves us, though, and keeps our son (age 15) focused on school work and off-line pastimes like sports and music.
WE DON’T ALLOW HIM TO KEEP A COMPUTER IN HIS BEDROOM!
In fact, we have just one computer in the home, and that remains in the family room. How many times have my wife or I walked in only to see our teen sheepishly exit his FaceBook page and get back to work on a school assignment? How many hundreds of hours would be lost each year if he had full freedom to network on-line without interruption in the privacy of his bedroom? Would he get less sleep? Yes. Would his school work suffer? Probably. Would we have to have more discussions about how he should be using his time? Undoubtedly. My own computer is a laptop which migrates with me between home and office.
So here’s the one thing I can say with certainty: limiting the household computers to exactly one and requiring that household members share that computer in a central space necessarily limits the amount of time that each person is free to use the darn thing!
Matthew Gollub is a local children’s author-publisher-speaker. His latest book with audio CD is titled JAZZ FLY 2: THE JUNGLE PACHANGA. Free reading tips and more at www.matthewgollub.com.
It really sounds to me more like the thing to do is to have Internet access limited to a central room, rather than the computer itself.
When I started junior high in 1989, my parents gave me the family Apple IIgs to use in my room, but would take my games away if I misbehaved or got poor grades. The ability to type in private, without the fear that family members could accidentally see my thoughts or mistakes, was what put me on the path towards becoming an English major at Cal and a career in writing. As far as how I spent my free time, the computer’s presence was positive: I spent less time playing games, more on writing/reading, and much more with friends that turned out to have the same passions.
My parents figured (as do I) that at 13, a child should be mature enough to at least begin learning to budget his/her own time and take responsibility for their own actions… My autistic delays left me way behind my peers, and even *I* didn’t need to be “babysat” by my parents to get my work done.
PS. Your site’s auto-refresh is incredibly frustrating when one is writing a comment.