Four moms (one of us a grandmama, two of us now Mamas-in-law) of a still growing brood (three of us, anyway) of nearly 40 kids combined (so far), write about topics related to parenting, mothering, homemaking, homeschooling, cooking, rearing a large family, pregnancy, marriage, etc, etc, and etc.
More about us at the bottom of this half baked, discombobulated, rambling post which is late because we had 4 houseguests, 3 kids returning from a visit to Denver after being gone for a week, 2 adorable grandkids playing at the house, and 1 distracted grandmama/mom who didn’t plan ahead.
Here is how it works at our house, sort of, more or less, depending on the child.
Games: We do not have a gameboy or anything like it. We don’t own any hand-held game devices. We do have a handful of education computer games, but use is limited. I like these, and so did my kids:
I’m not telling you this is the best thing out there. I haven’t looked for educational computer games in about ten years. We liked these, my kids liked these, and we found them satisfactory in the educational value department.
However, before using computers with your kids, you should also read:
Computers, electronic games, DVDs, and education: “New research …conducted by Michael Shayer, professor of applied psychology at King’s College, University of London, concludes that 11- and 12-year-old children in year 7 are “now on average between two and three years behind where they were 15 years ago”, in terms of cognitive and conceptual development.”
For the internet:
We use Covenant Eyes
The computers are password connected. No getting online without permission. Our youngest is not allowed online unless somebody is nearby who can glance up and see what he’s seeing. Google searches are not permitted, or at least not without asking first.
Email accounts are given to teens who have shown themselves trustworthy, but we have passwords and sign in info. I have actually only used this a couple of times, usually when I actually needed an address or ordering information that was that person’s email. The older kids always thought that we did read their emails, which was just as good a protection as if we actually did.
Facebook accounts= the same. However, now that FB permits users to block specific people from seeing individual status updates and so forth, we would be slower to let a minor child have a FB account. Our 14 year old has neither FB nor email. Our 16 year old has both.
Cell Phones: The first Progeny cell phone went to a Progeny who was commuting to work and college, and it was on her grandmother’s account.
We did not have texting until the Striderling was hospitalized for 40 days and we were maxing out our cell phone minutes and stressing out over trying to keep people updated on the daily roller coaster that was his health status. Now we are converts. I find texting extremely useful.
Our 14 and 16 year old do not have cell phones, although the 16 year old does make liberal use of her sister’s cell phones to text her friends in other states – girl friends, I add. She doesn’t text boys outside of her family members unless there is a very good reason.
They can’t get cell phones until their older siblings at home either leave home or decide to get their own cell phone plan because we have maxed out all the phones we can get on Granny Tea’s plan.=)
Kindles: We have two. Mine has free 3G. The youngest two have one with wifi but not 3G and it’s not that convenient to get online with either of them, less so with theirs. The Boy wanted a Fire and they both want an IPad and the answer is no.
Radios: For years the rule was the Christian radio station or the classical station. That’s sort of just fallen by the wayside. Pip is amazing in her ability to hear and remember lyrics and recognize when something troublesome is coming up and she is wonderful at skipping songs, and she does not listen to songs she doesn’t know most of the time, and never with her younger siblings. She has an incredible auditory memory. She will reasearch songs and artists she is interested in at home.
Television: We’ve not had cable ever, except for six months when it was part of our package at a trailer park- that was over 25 years ago. We’ve not had access to television due to reception issues connected with our preference for remote country locations for most of our married lives. We do watch hulu (I’ve mentioned my Korean drama addiction)
We watch DVDs. For a long time we had a one movie a week rule. That keeps going by the wayside the last year or two, because there is always something we want to watch or show somebody, and the FYG watches a lot of television shows with her grandma. I do not like the t.V. watching, but I do like the grandmother/grand-daughter bonding.
iPod: I dislike the use of ear-buds to cut one off from the rest of the family. I like the use of ear-buds in distressingly crowded and noisy places like airports. I have an iPod. The teens do not. It is lovely to hook it up to the car radio and listen to music or audio books together.
Our daughter works at the library and she sees kids on the internet all the time. Here’s what she has to say (from a discussion about security measures for a teen forum she helps moderate):
I have a lot of concerns with internet privacy, and I come from a different perspective because I am not a mother. I work in a library, where children are allowed to use the internet as long as they have a permission form from their parents. The parents do have to be in the library to sign it, so we know it’s actually them, but after that we very rarely see the parents.
I have read so many news articles, books, and stories about the creepers online that it kills me every time I see those children using the internet on so many websites without their parents awareness at all. For instance, a virtual reality game where you can interact with anybody logged on. There is a kid who gets to the library *before we open* and is on it all day, with about a 30 minute break where he walks home for lunch.
I… have a whole lot of concerns regarding children mixing with adults on the internet.
As for what specifics are safe for children to share/discuss, …that is different for different families. For instance, some families don’t want their children using any part of their real name online, and some people are okay with a little more.
just the basics….:
~Don’t share personal information over the internet
~Children, check with your parents before sharing ANY information over the internet
~Parents…. PLEASE be aware of who your children are communicating with
This IS the internet, and parents just have to be aware of what their children are doing. The best security measures and strictest rules that moderators or admin put in place are *not* going to be adequate protection for a child whose parents just don’t care or are ignorant.
And that’s the bottom line- rules and guidelines are extremely helpful, because the internet is a dangerous place where innocent kids can very easily accidentally stumble on something awful, but no rules replace the value of engaged, informed parents with good relationships with their kids.
The Four Moms are-
Connie at Smockity Frocks, married 25 years, mom to 8. We were blog buddies for a year or two before we realized that we had very dear mutual friends in real life. How cool is that?!
This week she writes: Kids and Electronics: What Age is Too Much, and How Much?:
Kim at Life in a Shoe, homeschool grad, mama to a family of 12, due any day now with her next blessing, who recently became a mama-in-law, is near her due date and in the process of buying a new house, so her post isn’t up yet, but if you want to read about her house-hunting, house-buying, pregnancy, and why her husband wants to change his name, you can find her here.
Raising Olives, married 15 years, mama to 11, homeschooling graduate herself- this week she writes about the uses of technology with children and why all those bells and whistles may not be the next greatest step in education after all.
Me, DeputyHeadmistress and former Zookeeper (I gave up keeping a zoo when coyotes and coons killed our chickens) of this blog, The Common Room and our cooking blog, The Common Kitchen; married 30 years, mom to seven plus unofficial foster mom to two little boys, Mama-in-Law to two, and Grandmama to four blessings under 3 with number 5 on the way, and yes we are very proud.=)
We also wrote a book together:
Buy the Four Moms parenting book, which you can get as a Kindle or as an e-book document:
See my other Kindle books, too:
101 Answers to the Summertime, “Mom, I’m Bored” Blues; help your kids use their free time creatively and productively. Give them ideas that will help them use their time and energy to create, to learn, to grow- to contribute. This is not your average ‘keep the kids out of your hair’ book.
Required Poems for Reading and Memorizing (annotated); Charming collection of older poems that you and the kids just might love.
Ten Low-Carb Snacks and Quick Meals Okay, actually, there’s a little more than ten, and they aren’t merely low-carb, they are also sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free! Totally NOT dairy-free, though. Personally, I think this is great value for the money.