Living In A Gadget-y World
Living in this world of hi-tec stuff is hard. Hard because there’s always a faster, sleeker, cooler thing to buy. Hard because those toys are expensive. Hard because kids covet just like adults and want, want, want.
We’re not poor (far from it when you compare to a third-world country). We are not rich. We are like most people and somewhere in the middle. Mr IG loves gadgets and toys. He gets that from his father. Heck, I like some of those things too.
But…keeping up with the tech craze is nearly impossible not to mention un-frugal (I think I just invented a word).
Living life with intention in our world means finding a balance. Sure we have a TV, we even have cable, a Wii we hardly use, a Pop Box, an external network drive (whatever that is…in fact, I’m not sure I even called it by its proper name), a GPS and a few smart phones. The list of what we don’t have is probably longer. iPad – no. DVD player – nope. Speaker system in our house – nada. More than 1 TV – afraid not.
Here’s how we approach this topic. In everything we purchase or spend time on, we want to make sure it serves a purpose. Do we need the item? Is it going to help us store photos, for instance, or create an easy and cheaper way to back up files? Is it cost-effective? Are the reviews of it okay? Do we plan to have it for several years – like, is it going to outlive it being cool and popular right now? Does it promote exercising our brains instead of turning them to mush?
Another fellow blogger recently posted that 46% of Americans for Christmas this year plan to get one of their children some kind of tablet reader. Reading is great and if you can use that to help promote reading I think it’s wonderful. Our kids have those Leapster Explorer game consoles. They love playing them but we have to limit it. If they sat and played with them for hours on end I think their little brains might slowly start to lose their ability to connect with adults. I want my kids to connect with people. Heck, I want to connect with people.
I mentioned before that we only have 1 TV. It’s in our Living Room. We don’t have a finished basement (I laugh at the idea in our 114 year old home!). We do not have a TV in our bedroom. A long time ago I was watching one of those addictive HGTV shows and the interior designers said that the bedroom needs to be the oasis away from all the chaos. I sort of took that to heart. I can’t have a TV in my room if I’m trying to make that a place to get away from it all.
Our kids LOVE watching TV and we sometimes let them. I have a job that allows me to work from home and there are times when the TV is my mommy’s helper. If I need my kids quiet, their favorite show (currently Wild Kratts will do the trick just fine) is the perfect remedy.
But it’s pretty amazing what happens when that TV is off (and they are getting along). They create. They play. They have so much fun. I love watching how creative they can be. A few years ago it was standard to have the TV on a lot more. I don’t know why that’s what we did, but we just did. Maybe it was their age. Maybe it was my job at the time. Maybe it was both. And I have no idea why we stopped turning it on but we just did and it’s pretty cool (most of the time). Sure, I have to intervene more than I’d like to teach them how to get a long or behave or forgive or apologize. Sometimes I get annoyed at that too. But hopefully more of the time I get to delight in how interacting teaches them how to communicate. How to talk to people and make eye contact. I want my kids to be engaged. To be aware of their surroundings. TV is certainly not all bad, but it’s pretty crazy how their blinders go on as soon as a show is on. They don’t hear me. They don’t notice me.
So that’s how we do it.I know it doesn’t work for everyone but this is how we try to do life with – and without – gadgets. If you are pining for that newest and greatest toy maybe this will help you decide whether it makes sense for you or not!