My children and I are locked into a bit of a battle at the moment. They love the iPad we have (we only have one, technically it’s mine) and they have developed a bit of an attitude that they can have it whenever they want and for however long they want, and assume that they get to just use it/take it, and pretty much own it.
They use it for playing games, reading and watching TV programmes/movies and Big Girl does her maths schoolwork on it. My small son likes to also take countless selfie photos and videos of the hamster, so the memory and battery are constantly full or flat.
I have put my foot down, and declared that the iPad is now a privilege, a treat, and not something that they automatically have rights to. An incident this morning, similar to several we have had recently, made me resolve to change things.
8 year old comes into the bedroom at 7am, having just got up and demands the iPad. Apparently there is an episode of a TV programme she hasn’t watched in a series she likes, and she MUST watch it now. I gently point out that we don’t have iPad time before getting ready for school in the morning (it’s way too distracting and we get nowhere fast) and that she needs to get dressed, ready for school, eat breakfast and then I will think about it, if we have time but that it is likely she will have to wait ’til after school, when she can have her allotted iPad time (each child gets 30 minutes a day)
Cue an enormous meltdown and declarations that I am the meanest parent in the world, and that I don’t understand how important it is, and that she doesn’t want to get dressed.
I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet, so wasn’t exactly a shining light of sympathy, and promptly responded that she had just lost her allotted iPad minutes for the day and if she didn’t get dressed she could go to school in her pyjamas and explain to the head teacher at the gate why. A few more tears and foot stamping followed and off she went to get dressed and probably mutter under her breath about her mean mother… 😉
That is only one of a few times she and I have clashed over iPad usage, not to mention the squabbling over who gets to use it first, when they are allowed it, and what they want to do with it, when they are sharing it. I have confiscated it on a number of occasions when they cannot agree.
So, we have decided to make the iPad a privilege. It’s not an automatic right that they get to use it, or access to it. They have to earn time, and if they take it for granted or get stroppy, the time gets taken away.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great tool, I love that my children have access to such technology, and it is very useful at times, but I had a sickening feeling this morning that my child was behaving like a bit of a spoiled brat, and that it’s partly my fault for letting her and her brother have access to the iPad, without teaching them to realise that actually they are very lucky to have access to one, and also time for them to learn that they don’t need it or get it every time they want it. We are very fortunate to have one, but I don’t think we should take that for granted.
We cannot afford to buy 3 iPads, and frankly even if we could, they are expensive, relatively fragile pieces of equipment, and I don’t think I want my children to have one each, at this age. I know other people do, but for us, one iPad per family, that is appreciated and used appropriately and shared is plenty.
So, the new rules are in force, the iPad will be allowed at the weekends, IF they have stuck to the rules.
We shall see how it goes…
Do you think having an iPad is a right or a privilege? Do you feel like me, that handing over £500 worth of gadgetry is a bit much, simply to keep a child happy, or do you think I am being a bit harsh? (I know my 8 year old thinks that, but I am sure she will get over it! 😉 )