Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Technology Speaks

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Technology
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their families' policies on screen time.


More than most families, technology is a central facet of our lives.

We have oxygen machines.

Machines that breathe when they can't.

Machines to suck out the mucous when a child can't blow their nose or cough it up.

Pumps to feed children through tubes in their bellies.

Machines to keep track of oxygen saturations and heart rate.

And we've agreed that we aren't about to let these things get in the way of our attachment to our children. We've worn them while carrying oxygen and feeding pumps. We've even occasionally (gasp!) Co-slept with a ventilator.

To be fair, we also watch a lot of videos - video helps with Acorn's comprehension, because he's so visually oriented and struggles with receptive language. They're part of our anti-anxiety routine for doctors visits and part of how we're learning sign language. More videos than I would ever have agreed to years ago. We're picky, though, in terms of what we watch.

But sometimes technology can bring us closer. The new gadget in our lives lets my son talk to us - to anyone.

While most parents rejoice in a child's first words, they still take them for granted. They expect words to come pouring out of their child, and eventually they start focusing on teaching them not to talk unless it's the right time or place. They learn to talk, and then to read and to write and to type, the flow of words moving faster and faster.

Communication is part of what makes us human. Communication binds us together. While sign language has served us well...Acorn's fine motor skills are not keeping up with his need to tell us what he's thinking.

To learn to use this device, we've spent a lot of time playing video games on tablets and phones - working those fine motor skills such as they are, finding their limits, and then trying to push further. Learning how to navigate tablets with their taps and swipes and different screens. Learning that touching different spots makes the device do different things....make noises, move, talk.

This isn't the sort of decision we make lightly, but we know Acorn has a lot to say, and it's nice to give him the opportunity to speak his mind.

And it doesn't hurt that there's less complaining at dinner when he can ask for exactly what he wants.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be updated throughout the day on October 8):
  • Has Technology Taken Away Childhood? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama worries that technology is intruding on the basic premise of childhood - active play in all forms! Join her as she takes a brief look at how play has changed as technology becomes more integrated into the daily lives of our children.
  • Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Technology — Jenn at Adventures Down Under describes her children's love of screen time and how her family implements their philosophy and policies on technology.
  • Kids Chores for Tech PrivilegesCrunchy Con Mommy shares how tying chore completion to iPad privileges worked in her house to limit screen time and inspire voluntary room cleaning!
  • Screens — Without the benefit of her own experience, sustainablemum explains her family's use of technology in their home.
  • Screen Time - The Battle of Ideologies — Laura from Laura's Blog explains why she is a mom who prioritizes outdoor natural play for her kids but also lets them have ample screen time.
  • The Day My iPhone Died — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution questions the role technology plays in her life when she is devastated after losing her phone's picture collection from her daughter's first year.
  • Finding our Technological Balance — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she finds balance between wanting her daughter to enjoy all the amazing technology available to her, without it overwhelming the natural parenting she's striving for.
  • Raising kids who love TV — Lauren at Hobo Mama sometimes fears what children who love screentime will grow up to be … until she realizes they'll be just like her.
  • No Limits on Screen Time? Is that Natural? — Susan at Together Walking shares misconceptions and benefits of having no limits on technology and screen time in their home.
  • Screen Time — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares what is currently working (and what hasn't) regarding screen time in her household.
  • Positive Use of Technology with Kids — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her family's experiences with early technology, shares helpful resources from around the blogosphere, and speculates on what she'd do as a parent with young children today.
  • why i will never quit you, TV — How Emma of Your Fonder Heart came to terms with the fact that screen time is happening, and what balance looks like between real and virtual life for both her toddler AND herself.
  • Technology Speaks — Janet at Our Little Acorn finds many uses for technology - including giving her child a voice.
  • 5 Ways to Extend Children's Screen Time into Creative Learning Opportunities — Looking for a way to balance screen time with other fun learning experiences? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 5 fun ways to take your child's love of favorite shows or video games and turn them into creative educational activities.
  • What parents can learn about technology from teachers — Douglas Blane at Friendly Encounters discusses how technology in schools enhances children's learning, and where to find out more.
  • 5 Tips for a Peaceful Home — Megan of the Boho Mama and author at Natural Parents Network shares her favorite 5 tips for creating a peaceful home environment.
  • Technology and Natural Learning — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes about the importance of technology as a tool for natural, self-directed learning.
  • Babies and TechnologyJana Falls shares how her family has coped, changed their use of, relied on, and stopped using various forms of technology since their little man arrived on the scene
  • Kids and Technology — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about the benefits of using technology with her preschooler, and includes a few of their favorite resources.
  • Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how technology can be used or abused and gives a few tips to help children learn balance.


  1. Love this! We would not have the same needs as your family does, but this inspires me to rethink how I see the technology available to us - how can we use it to our benefit?
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

  2. Love your perspective! That is fabulous that your son has the help of technology to communicate. I'm thankful pretty much daily for the technology that helps us navigate the world more easily as well, but you have even more reasons to be grateful.

  3. Wow, this is so powerful. Thank you for sharing your unique experience. I love learning new things, seeing things from a new perspective, thank you for that gift. So often we get locked in this black and white battle/debate and then someone (you) speaks and we're back to what really matters. Connection. That word keeps resounding in my ears lately. Sending you and your family love.

  4. What an important use for technology! I've so often been grateful for technological advances like Skype, but your life truly shows the beauty of technology.

  5. As an education journalist I'm always amazed by how well kids who need additional help can communicate using technology. I'm often struck by the way, once they get used to it, their personalities and sense of humor can come through.

    I wish you all the best with your children and your journey.

    (Here's a link here to our national centre for assistive technology, which might tell you a little more about the resources and what they can do. http://callcentre.education.ed.ac.uk)