With technology all around us and children learning how to swipe on an i-Pad before they learn how to write with a pen, how are real Egyptian mommies coping? Do they let their children surround themselves with phones and TVs or do they try and resist the trends and encourage their child to experience the great outdoors? Is using phones to keep children under control when out and about the best option, or are there some alternative tricks that can be tried? The Mommy Club moms share their stories:
Nassreen Gaafar – ‘The real addiction started around the age of 3’
We have been trying to stop all sort of screens for our 4 year old girl for around 2 months now. She started wtching ipad and TV when she was 1.5 years old, at that time I wasn’t concerned at all. Especially as she was learning a lot of things from the songs (letters, numbers, shapes and colors) and she also used to get bored from it easily.
The real addiction started around the age of 3. I had another baby so it was easier for me to just give her the ipad to distract her so I can get stuff done!
So we decided to stop using the ipad, not even a little screen time, stopping it all together. It was a hard phase because she didn’t like it of course. It got better with time and now she can get 15 minutes of screen time twice a week sometimes.
To ease with the withdrawal phase I had to plan lots of activities for her and her baby sister to do together and limit the time I use my mobile because it was unfair for her that she can’t use her ipad whilst I’m using my mobile all the time. We now have a family movie night on weekends where we get popcorn and she picks a movie that she wants to see.
Heba Abou El Eid- ‘I made sure he was watching educational shows.’
For me, I never introduced screen time before he turned two, and when I did, I made sure he was watching educational shows. I also made sure to time him and to not let him immerse in what he was watching. I also make sure that I know exactly what he was watching and to not let him have it available at all times. I always buy him educational toys and like to take him out so he can run and play with kids his age instead of watch TV. I think I will always be very vigilant when it comes to the technological crazes, because I keep hearing a lot of horror stories about new games and new TV shows.
Sarah Khairat Baraket- ‘Kids should be allowed to be kids.’
Me and my husband never allow her to touch our phones or tablets, which also translates into limiting our usage. Occasionally we would show her a photo on the phone only if it catches her eye but no tablet whatsoever.
The TV is never on except an hour in the evening and if she is awake, I engage her in lots of playful activities with her back turned to the TV. Radio is her best friend, I use youtube for nursery rhymes, but Olivia doesn’t know youtube, because she only hears music and songs but I never show her the cartoons.
Frankly there is no excuse to use technology as a distraction or as a learning tool, kids should be allowed to be kids. That being said, it is recommended not to start TV before the age of 2 and after 2 it should be timed and content must be monitored for adult content, subliminal messages, behaviorial no-nos, unacceptable vocab etc. And just because it is a cartoon doesn’t make it ok. Spongbob for example and Pepper Pig have been reviewed by experts on several occasions and found unsuitable for children.
Hend Latif- ‘I tell him switch it off or I will!’
My son is obsessed alright. I blame his father to be honest. However, we agree on a time to stop watching and hand me my mobile. Kids don’t like it when all of a sudden you tell them, ok that’s enough, turn off the mobile now! What I do is, I tell Ammar choose your last video, and he does! Sometimes he resists, in this case I tell him switch it off or I will. And if he doesn’t, I switch it off an bear the consequences.
When we are out together, I usually sing with him. That’s out thing on the road. We also practise colors while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green: green means go, red means stop and so on. I don’t think I ever gave him the mobile to shut him up. One more thing, I have an activities bag I take with me whenever we are going out for lunch. It has a story, colors, coloring books and a small car, it usually keeps him occupied and happy.