PBS's second logo, from 1971 to 1984.Image via Wikipedia

Last week PBS aired the show Digital Nation about how our world is changing by use of electronic devices and gaming. I would suggest that you visit their website to see more details.

When my kids were younger we used to have "electric free weekends." It helped all of us to focus on our relationships more. But as they got older, I got involved in teaching online, we neglected to do that at a time where we should have been doing it more.

We have no dining room, but 2 computers a tv and an xbox set up there(a bit cramped). But we were communicating about our enjoyable hobbies. Sharing our interests, the high points of a game, a new zoo created or a funny YouTube video. If kids and parents take their tech to another location, there is no sharing. As a result, we would all be in the computer room on the TV, phone or one of the computers at the same time. The sharing became something different. We shared what we were doing online or a show because we at least were in the same room. I learned a lot about zoos and about what different animals need in their environments. now I am learning about farming from my daughters Facebook game.

I saw that show too and was fascinated by some parent reactions as several educational bloggers have mentioned. When my son was 13 or so I realized he was on the computer for several hours(before the dining room setup) and finally asked him to stop. "but Mom, I am making a cool map for the game". He has been working on his passion of map making for his favorite game. He would upload the maps to the game site for others to use. I had no idea this was possible. Now,7 years later he is at Full Sail in the gaming program so he can be a map and level designer for video games!

My point is that monitoring is still the key to communication and knowledge of what your kids are doing online and encouragement or punishment can affect the direction of their participation. Ask what the game is, or what part they play, and be interested in their world. It matters to them and creates some crazy conversation, even if it is about how zombies walk funny!

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