Wired Kids? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Brandi Hodges Reports

Wired Kids?

July 21, 2006 -- Posted at 4:39 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- We see children and technology everywhere we go in Region 8.  In the mall, at the coffee shop, but are our children too wired?

"Electronics is where it's at," said parent Tim Smith.

Tim Smith is the father of a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old.

"They have cell phones, video games, they have a computer... I have another computer in the back," said Smith, "They'll have to do it, so the best thing to do is get them started with it now."

"On the other hand, it just seems they get absorbed into technology," said family counselor, Chris Gonzales.

Chris Gonzales is a counselor with the Better Life Counseling Center in Jonesboro, he says that tech toys in a kids hand can be a good thing, but parents need to set limits.

"When I think cell phone for a kid, I'm thinking this is a safety connection between the parent and the child.  Fourth graders don't need to be running amuck in places where their parents are like, ‘I wonder where my fourth grader is?  I think I'll give them a call'," said Gonzales.

"I know a lot of kids who have laptops now," said 17-year-old Somer Allen.

Her mom Deborah says her daughter is very technologically advanced for a teenager.  She's got more than a cell phone, she's also wired up with a desktop and laptop computer... and an I-pod.

"She was thirteen when she got her first cellphone, and I mainly got it for her so I could be in touch with her," said Deborah Allen.

"I think it is becoming more of a problem.  I've seen kids younger than in seventh grade, 10-year-olds even, walking around with a cellphone, and I've just never understood that," said Somer Allen.

Statistics are hard to find, but what we did find shows that 10% of all ten year olds already have their own phones.

"I think more than age, it needs to be what's the responsibility that is attached to this piece of technology," said Gonzales.

"She doesn't have a TV in her room.  We have a TV in the family room.  When she plays on the play station she does it in here, when she is on her laptop she's in here," said Allen.

Gonzales said by setting limits the Allen's are avoiding one of the real dangers of having too much technology -- fragmentation of the family.

"I mean, think about the family that's got a TV in every room, and everyone's in their separate rooms watching their own shows.  Ok, maybe one night... two nights a week that's ok, but if that's the pattern, what you end up doing is you've got people in a family who are lonely who have the opportunity to connect and don't take it," said Gonzales.

"It's that I never wanted her off in her room shutting out the family.  I never wanted her to feel isolated.  I always wanted her to stay in the swing of things," said Allen.

And it's not a problem for the Smiths either.  While Tim doesn't see the technology as a threat or a problem, he makes sure then get plenty of family

We see children and technology everywhere we go in Region 8.  In the mall, at the coffee shop, but are our children too wired?

"Electronics is where it's at," said parent Tim Smith.

Tim Smith is the father of a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old.

"They have cell phones, video games, they have a computer... I have another computer in the back," said Smith, "They'll have to do it, so the best thing to do is get them started with it now."

"On the other hand, it just seems they get absorbed into technology," said family counselor, Chris Gonzales.

Chris Gonzales is a counselor with the Better Life Counseling Center in Jonesboro, he says that tech toys in a kids hand can be a good thing, but parents need to set limits.

"When I think cell phone for a kid, I'm thinking this is a safety connection between the parent and the child.  Fourth graders don't need to be running amuck in places where their parents are like, ‘I wonder where my fourth grader is?  I think I'll give them a call'," said Gonzales.

"I know a lot of kids who have laptops now," said 17-year-old Somer Allen.

Her mom Deborah says her daughter is very technologically advanced for a teenager.  She's got more than a cell phone, she's also wired up with a desktop and laptop computer... and an I-pod.

"She was thirteen when she got her first cellphone, and I mainly got it for her so I could be in touch with her," said Deborah Allen.

"I think it is becoming more of a problem.  I've seen kids younger than in seventh grade, 10-year-olds even, walking around with a cellphone, and I've just never understood that," said Somer Allen.

Statistics are hard to find, but what we did find shows that 10% of all ten year olds already have their own phones.

"I think more than age, it needs to be what's the responsibility that is attached to this piece of technology," said Gonzales.

"She doesn't have a TV in her room.  We have a TV in the family room.  When she plays on the play station she does it in here, when she is on her laptop she's in here," said Allen.

Gonzales said by setting limits the Allen's are avoiding one of the real dangers of having too much technology -- fragmentation of the family.

"I mean, think about the family that's got a TV in every room, and everyone's in their separate rooms watching their own shows.  Ok, maybe one night... two nights a week that's ok, but if that's the pattern, what you end up doing is you've got people in a family who are lonely who have the opportunity to connect and don't take it," said Gonzales.

"It's that I never wanted her off in her room shutting out the family.  I never wanted her to feel isolated.  I always wanted her to stay in the swing of things," said Allen.

And it's not a problem for the Smiths either.  While Tim doesn't see the technology as a threat or a problem, he makes sure then get plenty of family
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