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“GADGET BABIES”

by Nafhatun Awang
Posted on 25 March 2015

I will not deny that a couple of months ago, I bought a tab (of course, it’s slightly smaller than my iPad) for my then 2-year old. Well, really I had intended it for my own use, but over time I felt it was more convenient (and lighter) for me to bring around just to console my son whenever my husband and I needed some “rest time” during our family outings.

Even when my son was younger, I started to expose him to technology – I absolutely loved the idea that my son will not feel like an outcast had he not been exposed to one from an early age. As a new mother, I thought “yeah, I can control the situation.. my son will never get addicted to such gadgets anyway”.

But I could not be more wrong. I noticed two things when my son turned 2.5 years :
     Not only was my son becoming too attached to the iPad & the tab…
     But we, as parents, were becoming too dependant on the iPad & the tab to pacify our young toddler!

WE PRACTICALLY HAD A DIGITAL NANNY.

Facing the reality, we decided that there should be much lesser usage of these gadgetries. We quit using them instantly (more like quit cold turkey!). Needless to say, my darling Nooh was heartbroken! For the first few days, he kept asking and looking for the iPad & tab – pining like a lost lover! But my husband & were firm in our decision – we wanted to become much better parents. And, boy, was it tough!

Fast forward two months later, we re-introduced the iPad & the tab to him BUT very gradually. He’ll get to use it if he truly behaved and finished his food or slept earlier the night before. He knows that when it’s time to stop using it, it really is “time to stop”.

Our ‘fillers’ to replace the gadgets were more exciting hands-on activities like colouring with crayons / felt markers, waterpainting, plaster sculptures, clay modelling and craft-making (just to name a few). We even introduced Nooh very light housechores for him to assist Mommy & Daddy with, and we began to seriously organise more fun-filled family activities on alternate weekends. We wanted to introduce Nooh to the fun side of life that doesn’t involve gadgetries and mobile devices (watching TV was still a daily ‘staple’, but it is us who controls the remote - so that’s sorted!)

As parents, I guess the hardest part of actually spending more time with Nooh to do these exciting fun-filled family activities is…. for ourselves to be less attached to our own smart devices. Of course, occasionally work beckons, but it is more important to be connected with your own children – especially during their formative years. Nooh is now 3-years young, and every time we look at him, we know we’ll miss his baby face and cheekiness when he eventually goes off to college to pursue his studies.

Gradually moving away from these gadgetries and being less attached to these smart electronic ‘imps’ really does make us better parents. We now recognise our son Nooh as a young individual in his own right.

 

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