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Do you let your children play with a tablet or smartphone, and do you have any concerns about the effects that those devices have on your children?
By Ann Carin Niland
Linnaea Boone Wilson, who’s daughter is 3, lives in Santa Cruz
“Sometimes we’ll watch some screen time. When she’s sick we’ve been watching ‘My Neighbor Totoro’. We recently went up to visit my in-laws in Humboldt, and on the car ride we watched a little bit on the computer. And sometimes if she has questions about something like ‘what’s a carousel?’ we’ll look it up together. But I don’t let her play on her own,” says Boone Wilson.
“When I’m texting–I don’t hide what I’m doing–I’ll say ‘I’m texting your friend, or I’m texting your papa.’ And I’ll let her pick out some emoticons to send to them. But I’m not very into technology for little kids. I think it’s pretty concerning how much that is part of the culture these days. We really limit that and I try to have my phone off or I just have certain times when I look at it.
I mostly do (my) screen time when she’s napping so that’s not part of her experience with me–having my attention really divided. I don’t want her to see me on it all the time. And you know, sometimes I’m not as good about it as I’d like to be. But it’s in my mind every day, to not have that be part of our lives very much.”
“When she’s older I really don’t know. Once she starts saying ‘Oh I want a phone… Oh I want a tablet.’ there’s definitely going to be a lot of rules about that, and I’m not really sure what it’s going to look like.”
“I don’t want to be an alarmist. But I was raised without technology when my friends had more access to technology, and there were times when that made me feel out of sync with what they were doing… But now that is something I want to give to my daughter. So that when her friends are thinking ‘I’m coding!’ she’s thinking ‘I’m going to go to the beach.’”
Cristina Ramirez 29, has kids 9 and 5 and lives in Santa Cruz.
“We do (let them play with devices). And yes, safety is always a concern. Who they’re talking to and sometimes they purchase things,” said Ramirez who chuckled while shaking her head. “We shouldn’t (let them use devices) as much. She explained that she and her husband never really had a conversation about their children’s technology use before they started using it. “It just kinda happened and now we’re fixing things.”
Marissa Johnson-Csimma has 16-month-old twin girls in Live Oak.
“I feel like my kids are at an age right now where this answer is going to be viable in the future. Granted we do have one or two movies that they have watched. But I have guided access. So I just lock the screen. So it’s only a movie and they’re not able to touch it and have that kind of sensory.
“Since we’re so physical, we are out seven days a week, but when I’m just by myself I do give them screen time once a day, and it’s usually in that quiet time.
“We’re coming into a day in age where we’re not really teaching common sense or anything like that. We’re just looking at a screen for answers, and that really drives me bonkers. But it’s like anything. I don’t really have a strong opinion towards other people’s kids it’s just towards my kids.
We’ll do movies and that kind of stuff, but as far as learning on a tablet we’ll do it within reason. I guess it just really depends on how the school system is going to.” Nowadays I see apps that are marketed towards children, but they’re creepy! There’s been a few videos that I’ve watched here and there that make me worry. I do put on music for my girls though so – hey – we all have our things,”
Kori Calubaquib, 38, has children who are 5 and 7.
“They usually have to earn it,” said Calubaquib, interviewed at Cabrillo College. I limit the time on it. We have the Kindle and it has all the security on what they can see and all the parent controls on what we allow them. It’s usually the item of last resort. So if we’re at a restaurant we try to bring coloring, or books, or even little Legos. And if we’re spending a lot of time there then at the end we’ll let them use it. But it’s a last resort. That’s with the airplane too. We usually fill up the backpacks with new fun exciting things, and if it’s a long trip then it’s the last thing that they’ll get to use.”
Jasmin Castillo, 27, has an 11-year-old son.
“I do let him use the phone and tablet. At the beginning I was concerned about the safety about where he was going to go on line what he was going to be looking at. And we did have a conversation and he does know what is okay to look at and what is not. And yet, there’s times when I’m not supervising what he’s watching. But he, pretty much, is good about it. He’ll remove a site if it’s something he’s not supposed to be on.
Jessica Valentin, 26, of Watsonville as a 7-year-old daughter.
“I do let my daughter use my phone or my mom’s tablet, but i try to look at the history to see what type of things she’s watching. Once I go through the history I tell her ‘you’re not supposed to be watching this, you’re not watching that. I don’t want to see this again, or else I’ll take it away from you.’ Most of the time I look at the history and try to delete some things so it won’t pop up again. And I try to supervise her when I’m home, or I tell my mom ‘you need to supervise what she’s watching’ because there are some things that could be really bad for kids.”
Ann Carin Niland is a parent, student, and intersectional feminist. She hasn’t quite adjusted to writing about herself in the third person.