Friday, February 13, 2009

Why You Should Turn Your PC Off at Night

So I'm a mean Mom, I cut Miguel's PC time significantly for two weeks now. Why? Because he wasn't spending time with me. Hehehe. It's not only that though, I noticed that he was spending more time online and have totally forgotten about his other hobbies - drawing, playing the guitar, building stuff and writing stories. 

I only realized that it was just right to cut down the time he spends on the PC when I got a forwarded email about my generation being the lucky kids - because we didn't grow up with the internet. We had real friends. The issue back then was about watching too much TV... that and spending too much time playing outside. I remember I used to bike around a lot with my friends in our neighborhood. We also had all sorts of activities during summer (tennis, theater, volleyball etc.). And we'd hang-out to have merienda at the nearest sari-sari store. I don't see that many kids playing outside now.

I know it's my fault that my son spent a lot of time in from of the PC. I had him on my lap when I was doing homework and thesis back in college and grad school. I got him all sorts of learning games and gave him my old PC. We installed Linux though on his PC - TRex - when he managed to crash George because of playing games. I don't mind him spending lots of time using the PC, I just want him though to have a balanced life and not grow up as a cranky person (like someone I know LOL) who just wants to spend all his time in front of the PC. I also don't want him to end up like a friend's kid who had to go through rehab because he became very addicted to playing games and became violent whenever he was kept from playing.

I don't think it's bad for kids to use the internet or the PC, the wealth of information available for them now is astonishing. My son knows a lot more than I used to when I was his age (and he writes even better than me!). He also knows how to tweak things and is currently learning about hardware through Sweetie. It's just about teaching them how to manage their time between doing online and offline activities. And if you need to do something drastic like switching on parental control or giving them a curfew then do so. 

So now every evening my PC automatically shuts down at 9 p.m. and we chat, watch TV, ask each other about what happened during the day and I'm happy that he's also drawing again and dabbling on his other hobbies. And sleeping early is a healthy option too.