Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to parent before the internet took over the world?
My parents had no computer or mobile phone. Heck, we didn’t even have a cordless phone! I remember when we got our first VHS player, and how exciting it was to hire “Annie”.
When Mum wanted a new idea for dinner, she pulled out recipe books, not mealopedia.com. Actually, come to think of it, Mum never really had new ideas for dinner… I could probably do one blog about the menu from my entire childhood.
When my brothers and I had homework, we consulted our Encyclopedia Britannica, not Wikipedia.
If we were unwell, Mum took us to the doctor surgery, not Dr Google. This usually meant the diagnosis was accurate, not catastrophic.
Mum made phone calls or had cups of coffee around the kitchen table with her friends rather than SMS.
Oh, and her friends were real. I can attest to that as I actually saw them in the flesh with my own eyes on many occasions. She did not have 1,000 Facebook friends, she had about 10 face to face friends. The thought of having 1,000 friends would have made her choke. Who has time for that many friends?!
If we wanted some cheap funny entertainment we watched an old movie or a cartoon, not YouTube. For some reason, I don’t think Mum would have appreciated us laughing at some kid smashing appliances or jumping off tall buildings.
If Mum wanted to buy a present for our birthdays she had to walk into shops and look for the best deal. I bet she spent less money than I do when I go to Amazon with the intention to SAVE money!
I am a bit freaked out by statistics like this:
There are more people on Facebook than on the planet 200 years ago.
2.6 million minutes spent on Facebook everyday.
There is no doubt about it, the internet is a wonderful tool for parenting. There are endless ideas for things to do with the children on a rainy day and I get inspired via blogs from people around the world. Information we would otherwise not have access to is at our fingertips. But there’s a cost if we are not wise: distraction; jumbled priorities; procrastination; information overload; poor communication between friends. Seriously, 2.6 million minutes a day on the old FB? What is that all about? These are the traps I want to avoid – time wasting, watching others lives from a distance without real substance in relationship.
I try to do most of my blogging first thing in the morning or after the kids have gone to bed, but that isn’t the case every single time. I get caught up looking at my favourite websites, I research the idea of the day and I lose track of precious time. In fact I start to feel agitated after looking at the screen for too long.
I think the www is superb, but I don’t want to sell out my real life, the life with people who I can see, hear and touch, to find the best bargain, the most inspiring blog or the most creative idea on Pinterest.
We are introducing “screen free days” to our home. Not sure how this will work, but the idea is that we have no TV, no computers and no iPhone games. These will be our most creative days, I am sure.