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Does your home have an “electronic elephant”?

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Greg Peck
March 27, 2013

I’ve expressed this previously, but I’ll again get first-hand looks at a concern of mine this week. Today our 11-year-old granddaughter is coming to visit a few days before the rest of her family joins us for Easter. I suspect she’ll be bringing her electronic gadgetry with her.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal that I read in the March 17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Demetria Gallegos wrote about the “electronic elephant” in her living room. She’s referring to the “huge amount of time our girls spend online, captivated by games, shows and web surfing.”

I understand and share her concern when it comes to my grandkids. Our granddaughter and her 4-year-old brother spend lots of time sitting indoors watching videos or with faces glowing before little hand-held electronics. This contrasts to my childhood, spent largely outdoors exploring nature, interacting with neighbors and learning about the real world.

Gallegos shared suggestions for taming this electronic monster. The family’s first step was to let school performance dictate the amount of freedom to use computers at home.

Gallegos urges parents not to be oblivious. Her family canceled a Netflix subscription after checking out the kids’ browser history. She also suggested treating children individually because each is a different age and maturity level; communicating clearly; giving kids a change to earn autonomy; and that parents must model an appropriate amount of time spent on computers.

She was surprised when her 14-year-old daughter recently suggested a computer-free day. Gallegos was delighted at this suggestion of a “digital detox.”

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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