When N turned 9 he got a tablet for his birthday. It took us a long time to get to that point. We had a family ipad, computer and Wii but neither of the kids had anything electronic that was completely their own. I realized that many of his friends already had electronics of their own and, while I don’t condone following the crowd, it seemed like the right time to make the plunge. I knew if we went down that road we would never be able to go back though. It’s a tricky road to navigate. Electronics and the internet have been integrated into our everyday lives now and while commonplace, it has to be respected and boundaries have to be defined.
Our daughter A reminded us that for her 9th birthday she should be getting a tablet of her own as well. She started reminding us about 4 months before the big day that she was entitled to her own device as well. Sigh. That’s what happens when we try to be fair – they keep track of everything.
When we presented the kids with their gifts, we also presented them with a special letter and contract. Having their own device was a big deal for this family and we wanted to lay out the rules clearly. The letter/contract outlined how special this gift was and the responsibility that we were bestowing on them. This gift was a privilege not a right and could be taken away.
Our job as your parents is to ensure that you grow up into a healthy, smart and well-rounded person. There is a whole world out there to learn, explore and understand. You can’t always get that by looking at a screen. At the end of the day, the most important thing is not “things” but the love and support of your family and the special friends you have.
The result was the following letter and contract that helped to outline the responsibility of having a tablet of their own and how it would work in our family. We wanted to make it a big deal because it is a big deal for us. We knew if we made this important, they would treat this as important. So far so good.
Are there any special rules that you have for your kids when it comes to electronics?