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Managing Technology Sucks

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Back on 12/31/12 Melinda wrote a post about Shaun and his love of gadgets.  Xbox, TV, iPod and computer mean everything to Shaun and his life seems to revolve around them.

Recently while at dinner with Melinda’s parents her father asked us why Shaun was blinking so fast and hard.  Just an hour before dinner Shaun was playing Xbox Live with a few of his friend for probably three to fours hours so we told him video games was the reason.  He told us that it didn’t look good and he was concerned and I must admit after hearing his concern I understand why he felt that way.  Once we got home Melinda and I sat down with Shaun and told him three to fours hours of video games a day wasn’t good for him and we placed a limit on his gaming.  During the week he could only play for an hour and on the weekend we let him play for about two hours.


After having this discussion Melinda and I noticed another problem related to video games cropping up.  Shaun has always disliked doing homework (what kid doesn’t to some degree) but since he got Xbox Live his hatred of homework has become more and more of a problem for us to the point where he was rushing so fast to get it done so he could play his hour of Xbox that there was so much wrong with his work that he needed to do it all over again.  Like I mentioned Shaun hates doing homework the first time so you can imagine how he reacted when we told him he needed to redo his homework.  It was an instant meltdown and total fight because all he had on his mind was playing Xbox Live.

Another problem we are having is he is in the 4th grade and has a hard time spelling simple words.  Shaun is not a dummy by any means and I know part of the problem is him not thinking and just rushing because he is focused on playing video games.  It also doesn’t help that at this point in the game his school doesn’t seem to place any emphasis at all on vocabulary.  All school year long he has received math and reading homework but not a single vocabulary list.  I can remember having to study vocabulary all of the time for weekly tests when I was in elementary school but not Shaun because he hasn’t gotten one vocab list all year.  So Melinda printed a 4th grade vocabulary list from the internet and we have been quizzing him.  The first time I quizzed him he couldn’t spell some of the simplest words that I felt any 4th grader should know so Melinda and I put another rule in place.  We quiz him daily on random words from the list and for every word he gets right he get two minutes of Xbox time and for every word he gets wrong we take one minute away.  I feel bad doing this to him but like I told him he needs to be able to spell words like correct, royal and bananas without any trouble.  Today I quizzed him and he did awesome, he got 45 right and 10 wrong so he got a decent amount of Xbox time today.

I told Melinda that we need to quiz Shaun daily on vocab and hopefully his spelling will get better.  I am sure it will over time as long as we stick to our rules we should be fine and so should he.

Us as a society always seem to want more and more technology to make our lives easier but sometimes I feel like we are so surrounded with it that it’s to hard to manage.  Kids don’t use their imagination like they used to ten years ago and I feel like that is hurting them in the long run.

How do you manage technology?  Do you have rules and time limits in place?

I Disclose

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  1. This is such a tough one because technology is so much a part of our lives. I definitely try to limit the amount of time they have with iPads, etc and the TV is OFF most of the time when I am home.

    • I agree with you. Shae and Sabreena are ok with limited electronics but Shaun is a whole different story. If he isn’t doing electronics he gets instantly bored. We have been trying to limit him and make him do more non electronic activities like reading a book or playing a game. So far so ok. LOL. It’s going to be a process for sure.

  2. Betty Baez says:

    My kids are young now but i definitely limit the amount of time on the electronics so this doesnt happen….well i think you’re taking the right steps by printing out a sheet and quizzing him, i find it odd because when i was in 4th grade we had weekly vocabulary lists to study and would be quizzed on fridays…..maybe your due for a talk with the teacher about incorporating this into the study material. Good luck!

    • I can remember weekly vocab tests as well. I agree with you that we may need to have a talk with the teacher.

  3. I know what you mean on this subject. I had that issue with my son, but then I just made the period before dinner no technology time at all so there was no point for him to rush anymore. He focused and did much better on his schoolwork.

    • That sounds like what Melinda and I are going to need to do with Shaun and pray that will help him slowdown and focus more on his school work.

  4. Oh goodness Rob I feel technology is eating into our families like a deathly virus, if not curbed. Any good things NEEDS to be limited, if not we run the risk of losing out on building relationships with our kids.

    I have a soon to be 7 year old and a 2 1/2 year old (who is pretty tech savvy!!)and have limits on how long they can play on anything electronic related.

    I DO NOT want to be that family who communicates to each other via tech gadgets, under the same roof 🙁

    Voiced that out here: http://energizerbunniesmommyreports.com/2011/09/technology-overload.html 🙁

    • I agree with you 100% on this and we are starting to really crack down on the technology and setting limits.

  5. I wish I could say that I didnt relate…but I do. All three of my kids have iPod/iPhones and computers and laptops of their own, not to mention other gaming consoles. I feel that by giving them access to these devices I have somehow hindered their creativity. The moment I take one of them away they instantly tell me how bored they are.
    I do wonder what would happen if I vastly limited their time on the devices if it would have a great impact on their school work. I need to give it try.

    • It’s tough to do but we have noticed some difference and we have only been doing this for a week maybe less. I don’t think it’s ever to late to try because in my opinion it can only help.

  6. I homeschool my daughter so she’s got oodles of time and, if not careful, electronics (iphone, video games, computer, etc.) can fill most of it. When she was the age of your son (two years ago), she could not do any electronics during the week and only for a limited time on the weekends. That meant a lot of reading, crafts, play dates, and playing with toys. One summer, I figured she could get more electronics times. During that time she was more disobedient, complained more, had less of an attention span, and so much more. When we mentioned it, even she noticed she was getting in trouble more. The fix? Only one hour a day during the SUMMER. That solved most of it.

    • We do one hour a day during the week and 2 on the weekend. He appears to be getting better but if needed I will do like you did and cut back even more and allow no electronics during the week.

  7. I don’t have any kids yet but i can see both sides since I’m a bit of a gamer myself. (There are days where I could probably use adult supervision to limit my time). If it’s an online game there are often *peak* times to play when most other people are playing. If that’s the case here I wonder if a could compromise could be made to let his game time be closer to peak time but limiting the total play time to something reasonable.

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