My Kids Use Their Tablets and I'm Not Sorry

Apr 21, 2016

I’m a single mom. Might I add, I’m a great mom and my kids are well adjusted. They are well behaved and are getting good grades in school.

But I have a dirty little secret. My kids use their electronics…quite often. For me, it’s not really a choice, it’s a necessity. I have been a single mom for 4 years. While working and taking care of kids is challenging, I embrace the craziness and focus on the things I can control. Sometimes, this means using the iPad as a babysitter.

Let’s face it, when many of us were kids, we watched a lot of television. As a child of the 80’s, I remember binge watching nickelodeon when cable FINALLY came to our suburban community. My mom was also a single mom so I’m sure for her it was a necessity as well, however, I don’t think I was alone in my TV consumption compared to many of my friends.

Today, my kids aren’t on electronics 24-7. As a family, we take the time to appreciate nature, we have some rules about when to use our phones (myself included), and I read a story to my kids every night. However, there are many times when I use the tablet as a crutch.

Being a parent in 2016 isn’t easy. These days many mothers are expected to work while juggling taking care of the family. Fathers are expected to work crazy hours and still feel pressure to chaperone the kids field trips. Even stay at home moms feel pressure to sell something on the side. While it’s great that we’re all participants, it can get a little overwhelming.

While my kids don’t use the iPotty (where they can view their iPad while going the bathroom…seriously this product really exists and has been awarded the dreaded TOADY Award for Worst Toy of the Year by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood?!), they do spend time on their tablets. In today’s parental conundrum, I believe it’s not just about setting limits and monitoring (I use monitoring software called Net Nanny to make sure they are safe, block inappropriate websites, and set time limits as to when they cannot use devices) but it’s also about making sure there’s open communication and taking part in their online activities. Most of what they are doing are educational and positive in nature but I take time to do the following:

  • View monitoring reports on where they are going online
  • Spend time with them to learn about what they are doing
  • Set limits for usage
  • Use parental control software to block and filter inappropriate content (porn, violence, profanity masking)
  • Be aware of your own screen time and smart phone usage