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kids and technology - need to vent and opinions please? LONG!


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background: A couple we know from church lived in a garden home community close by. 2 bedroom house, tiny lot, etc and they have 2 children. Both parents working - he does something medical at a hospital (xrays or ultrasound works) and she works for a bank as a credit analyst. He got fired from his job. Several months go by and they have not mentioned struggles or needing any kind of help. (We have helped other couples with similar struggles - the church and individuals - the keep them in their home.) During this time our neighbor (and us) have our house for sell. We didn't really have to but want to get further out with more land. Neighbors needed to move for work. They eventually offered their home for rent at $1,850 per month! (This seemed ridiculously high but this young couple has purchased the home at $245,000 right before the economy turned and they needed to cover their mortgage and the fee charged by the rental agency.) Bc we were friends with the young couple trying to sell or rent their home, they ended up telling us that they were going to be renting to a couple who had filed bankruptcy bc they was the only offer they had and they really needed to get out from the under the house. The next thing we know the original couple who just filed bankruptcy on their small garden home is now moving in across from us. I'm shocked that they can't afford to keep their small garden home and file bankruptcy but now they can afford to pay $1,850 per month in rent when dad still wasn't working.

 

These parents let their kids run wild, ride their bikes back and forth and down the middle of our busy street and flaunt that privilege in front of our kids who are not allowed to do this bc of the danger. I've seen cars have to slam their brakes on to avoid hitting one of their kids half a dozen times. We've been told by another neighbor that the oldest son, 9, has already been caught looking at porn on the internet and the dad even told us that one morning when he got up his son was watching a R rated movie on HBO in his room. (Well, duh, if you give your kids access, of course that could happen!)

 

So now it's December and dad did work briefly for a landscaping company but is not working now. They came home with a new car early December. He comes out today while my DH is out taking down the wreaths and kids are playing football/riding bikes. He immediately starts to brag about all the things they bought their kids for Christmas. They bought and ipod touch for each of sons - 1st grade and 4th grade along with a long list of many other high price items. Then he told DH how you can download apps for texting and watching movies, etc. I mean really? Does a 1st grader need an ipod touch with internet access? But his dad told DH - "well all the kids have them."

 

My 11 year old has been saving his money for a lmost 2 years and just got one. He is not allowed to have it in his room. He doesn't have the password to download any games, so we have to approve them all and put the password in. We have not downloaded an app to allow him to text - he is not allowed to surf the internet on it without us supervising closely.

 

My husband comes in upset. How do they afford these high ticket items? My DH is an accountant for a large hospital. He makes a good salary. We have all we need - (not all we want of course!). My children each had 3 Santa gifts and 4 gifts from us. They all got one "big" item around $50 and the rest of the gifts were each $5-$20. So we spent around $125 for each kid.

 

Do many kids really have this kind of technology at their fingertips at this young of an age? Is this normal? Is this good for kids?

 

I'm mainly just venting! I want my kids to play games and run and enjoy toys. Am I weird? Not accepting of today's culture? My kids clearly feel left out - are we being mean that we don't want them to have this kind of stuff?

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Obviously, they have some financial planning issues... But is it common? I would say its certainly not uncommon. My boys are 7 and have an iPod touch (though it's dh's old iPhone) as well as a ds and laptops (again, hand me downs with issues, but it is their individual computers, though stationary in the main room). I think a lot of kids have that level of tech these days.

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Yes, it's pretty common. I won't list all the stuff my kids have and use, but we're big on technology around here. That said, my kids still play and run around plenty. They don't sit in front of screens all day, even though we don't enforce "limits" unless someone is being punished for something.

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While I don't agree with it at all, nor is that level of technology something my kids will ever have...it is normal these days.

 

And as far as affording them, I think people are in far greater debt than we realize sometime. That's just speaking about personal friends of ours, but we seem to be in the minority when it comes to debt.

 

I know you are just venting, and I hope I don't sound bit##y, but I'd be thankful for what you have. Your kids will likely grow up more grounded and reasonable than these children.

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I'd quit gossiping with everybody in town about this family. Better not to know what they're up to, and better still not to contribute to those conversations.

 

As far as doing without luxuries goes, your children's attitudes will reflect your own. You might have a problem if this vent is your reaction and your DH came home mad that the neighbors had electronics they can't afford! Your kids are sooo going to pick up on that. If you are jealous and angry, they will be, too. If you are thankful and content it is more likely that your kids will grow to view the world that way, too.

 

It is hard to be different from the neighbors. I think many of us have BTDT. Homeschoolers, especially, because the vast majority are choosing to live on one income so Mom can teach the kids. But that was a choice we made.

 

Sounds like you had a good Christmas! You outspent us by $75 per kid.

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I know that it is hard when our kids are disappointed, but really, it is just hard to be a mom or dad. I say that because you are busy comparing all of your parenting decisions to the family across the street. That is just going to frustrate you and if your kids sense that, they will probably trust less in your decisions for them.

 

Who cares what the "other" families do? By venting about this you will find families that have lots more technology and freedom than your kids do, and you will hear from some that do less than you allow. Who is right and who is wrong?

 

I am sure that you probably already know this, but I am just offering it up for a reminder (to myself as well), that we are given the responsibility to govern our own children's lives, no one else's. It will just spread discontentment in your home by constantly judging the neighbors on what they give their children, how they spend their money, what they can afford (or not), the rules that they give their kids.... etc.

 

Someone posted on here once a phrase that I have taken to heart.

 

Comparison is the death of contentment.

 

Trust in your own decisions, for your kids alone. HTH

 

Kim

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It's normal for kids that young to have those things. Think about it; iPods have replaced record players/CD players. eReaders are replacing books. Computers are an important part of our lives now (we do everything online these days!). It's pretty essential for young children to learn how to use computers in order to keep up with the world.

 

My boys each have a laptop (for school use only), and a DS for fun. Everything else they play with is to encourage learning (Legos, Snap circuits, etc), or outside play.

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I agree that is common. I'm sitting in a big chair posting on my iPhone. My two year old is on my left, playing a game on her iPad. My 5 year old is on my right, watching Fraggle Rock on her iPod touch.

 

They play outside and do farm chores twice a day.

Edited by amy g.
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Honestly is nunna (as in none of your business) how they afford their lifestyle. I can not even imagine 1850/month in RENT, however.

 

As for the technology, yes, my son has that. Some of the items were gifts, some he paid for with his own money. We are pretty lenient with what we allow, and he's probably headed toward a career in technology. It's just a part of our lives. Now our TV is a decade old and it was a freebie, but ds and I rarely watch TV anyway.

 

Now our house cost less than some people pay for cars, and our cars are paid for and were purchased used. I can't imagine buying a car and financing it for seven years either, but that's just me.

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It is relatively common in many places.

Our kids don't have iPods (I would buy a cheaper mp3 player for them if it would work with our computer, but it won't) or iPads, and all I have is an iPod nano that I've had for a few years. I bought DH an iPod Touch for Christmas a couple of years ago and he felt bad about the money spent and returned it! :lol: I do really, really want an iPad. So does DH. Maybe sometime this year...

But as far as the kids go, mine don't have any of that. DS7 just got a Nintendo DS for Christmas - not a new one, either! - and he's thrilled! My kids have never expressed any concern or jealousy over not having things like what you are talking about... of course, many people we know don't buy those things, either.

And regarding the family in question's financial situation - smile and nod. Not your business (and I mean that in a nice way) so don't even worry about it. It's their problem. :)

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Although we don't even own an mp3 player :(. I think it's common, I see kids walking around with their ipods and phones (with internet) all the time.

 

I think my kiddos are the only one on the block who doesn't own any of them (but my oldest is saving up for an ipod).

 

I would love to own some of the new gadgets, they look like fun (I'm saving for an i pad).

 

Anyway, my kiddos are enjoying the new bop-it Extreme that I purchased for CHRISTmas. I only paid $7.00 for it at Once Upon a Child ;)

Edited by Homeschooling6
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I'd quit gossiping with everybody in town about this family. Better not to know what they're up to, and better still not to contribute to those conversations.

 

As far as doing without luxuries goes, your children's attitudes will reflect your own. You might have a problem if this vent is your reaction and your DH came home mad that the neighbors had electronics they can't afford! Your kids are sooo going to pick up on that. If you are jealous and angry, they will be, too. If you are thankful and content it is more likely that your kids will grow to view the world that way, too.

 

It is hard to be different from the neighbors. I think many of us have BTDT. Homeschoolers, especially, because the vast majority are choosing to live on one income so Mom can teach the kids. But that was a choice we made.

 

Sounds like you had a good Christmas! You outspent us by $75 per kid.

 

I haven't gossiped with anyone about this family - it's why I came here to vent. The neighbor did tell me about the porn bc she knew I'd want to know - and bc of that my kids are not allowed in their house.

 

My DH wasn't mad but feeling like he has let us down - that is what upset me the most. We have consciously made our decisions about what we want our kids to have, but even if we wanted those gifts would be out of our budget.

 

And no, we don't talk about this stuff in front of our kids!

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The only technology my children have are mp3 players, and they were given to them. My oldest, just on 18 and just about to leave home to go to university was just given his grandmother's very old prepay mobile phone, and just bought himself a laptop. Appart form that all the rest use the 2 family computers.

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I haven't gossiped with anyone about this family - it's why I came here to vent. The neighbor did tell me about the porn bc she knew I'd want to know - and bc of that my kids are not allowed in their house.

 

My DH wasn't mad but feeling like he has let us down - that is what upset me the most. We have consciously made our decisions about what we want our kids to have, but even if we wanted those gifts would be out of our budget.

 

And no, we don't talk about this stuff in front of our kids!

 

It's important to remember that some people are willing to do anything to look like they have it made. It's all about status to some people.

People like my family, we see it as irrelevant. I would MUCH rather be living frugally yet comfortably - wanting for nothing but not throwing money away - living the way we do than overspending on a house/car and then having to put EVERYTHING into being able to pay for those things, thus making actual enjoyment of life with family impossible.

It's all in priorities. We chose not to build a house a few years back, when we could have probably made it work. But between us and a wise FIL who saw everything beginning to take a downturn (who would have been our contractor!) we didn't. A year and a half later DH had to switch jobs and makes 1/2 as much money, but we still live fine. Someday I do still want to build or buy a house. But we have plenty of time for that! On the other hand, friends of ours went ahead and built at that time, and their jobs didn't change, but they had some unexpected medical issues arise. The lasting costs of these issues have made their life very stressful financially, and they consider themselves 'house poor' - everything they make goes to pay for their house. They can't take vacations, they both work - one works 2 jobs - they are away from home all the time, and just can't invest time with their family because of wanting something bigger when it wasn't what they needed. I'm very sorry that it happened to them, and at the time I never would have thought twice about it if I were them either. I know unexpected things happen, but we should never put ourselves in a position where we would be working that hard just to pay for a house.

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It's important to remember that some people are willing to do anything to look like they have it made. It's all about status to some people.

People like my family, we see it as irrelevant. I would MUCH rather be living frugally yet comfortably - wanting for nothing but not throwing money away - living the way we do than overspending on a house/car and then having to put EVERYTHING into being able to pay for those things, thus making actual enjoyment of life with family impossible.

It's all in priorities. We chose not to build a house a few years back, when we could have probably made it work. But between us and a wise FIL who saw everything beginning to take a downturn (who would have been our contractor!) we didn't. A year and a half later DH had to switch jobs and makes 1/2 as much money, but we still live fine. Someday I do still want to build or buy a house. But we have plenty of time for that! On the other hand, friends of ours went ahead and built at that time, and their jobs didn't change, but they had some unexpected medical issues arise. The lasting costs of these issues have made their life very stressful financially, and they consider themselves 'house poor' - everything they make goes to pay for their house. They can't take vacations, they both work - one works 2 jobs - they are away from home all the time, and just can't invest time with their family because of wanting something bigger when it wasn't what they needed. I'm very sorry that it happened to them, and at the time I never would have thought twice about it if I were them either. I know unexpected things happen, but we should never put ourselves in a position where we would be working that hard just to pay for a house.

 

We share this same perspective and I appreciate your comments - glad to hear it from someone else!

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Yes, it is common. My 1st and 2nd graders got touches for Christmas, and they are some of the last of their friends to get them. They have books, music, Netflix for watching Mythbusters and such, and many games that provide math and spelling practice loaded on the devices. I know many people who are fine with their kids escaping into fantasyland all day reading books, but for some reason doing the same thing with video games is seen as different. I don't get it.

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My husband gets like that, too (even though we have all the technology stuff). He compares houses, cars, vacations, everything ... UP. He never looks at those who have less (which, frankly, is almost everyone in the world ... we just happen to live in a wealthy part of America, which skews our perspective). He feels like he isn't providing. It's heartbreaking because we have everything we need and more, and have chosen to save for the future and keep ourselves out of debt rather than financing a "fabulous" life ... but all he can see is that so-and-so got an iPad instead of an Android tablet, or went to Disneyworld instead of camping at the lake, or built a new home instead of buying an "antique" like we did. Meanwhile, our bills are paid, our home is lovely (if I'd just clean it more), our cars are paid for and nice (if getting older), and we splurge frequently on meals out or little activities rather than large vacations.

 

I would just caution everyone not to judge other people who consume more, whether it be technology or something else. You happen to know a lot about that couple's finances, so it's easy to assume they are in debt, but not everyone who spends differently than you goes into debt to do it. Even the family in question may have been given a windfall you are unaware of. Best to keep your eyes on your own work ... or if you MUST compare, compare down. Look at the truly poor in this country and worldwide, and remember how fortunate we all are to have warm, dry places to surf the boards and debate the proper place of high-end technology in a child's life.

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Comparison is the death of contentment.

 

Love that pp. So true.

 

That being said, I totally get wanting to vent on-line anonymously. The two neighbor kids came by after Christmas to show our kids their new little laptops. DD9 got her first (used) DS this year. That's about as tech as we get. It's a fine line between kids needing to know new technology and giving them that freedom. I really, really want a fun toy myself (or even a phone that rings more than once), but I'm putting my Christmas money towards some elective dental work. I figure a nice smile will pay off more in the long run. :D

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background: A couple we know from church

 

So the information you're sharing with us is about members of your local body of Christ?

 

These parents let their kids run wild, ride their bikes back and forth and down the middle of our busy street and flaunt that privilege in front of our kids who are not allowed to do this bc of the danger.

 

Are you totally and absolutely sure that these kids are flaunting their privilege? Or are they just being kids having fun? Are you sure that it is totally unacceptable for kids to ride their bikes on this street? Or are you being controlled by fear? Why are you letting yourself feel bad for giving your children a boundary to keep them safe? Is it your neighbor's job to make sure they don't do anything/give anything to their kids to prevent your children from having a discontent emotional response?

 

he got up his son was watching a R rated movie on HBO in his room. (Well, duh, if you give your kids access, of course that could happen!)
Have you ever experienced your children disobeying you in such a way that they saw or heard something that you did not want them to see? Was this due to a failure in your parenting or was this due to your children failing to obey?

 

He immediately starts to brag about all the things they bought their kids for Christmas.

 

Is this different from you telling us how much you got to spend on your kids' Christmas?

 

- he is not allowed to surf the internet on it without us supervising closely.

Are you completely and totally ready drop everything you are doing and watch your son surf the web when he wants to do so? Are you completely and totally 100% sure that he will not ever see something inappropriate even if you are surfing with him?

 

 

 

Do many kids really have this kind of technology at their fingertips at this young of an age?

Yes.

Is this normal?

Who gets to decide what is normal?

 

Is this good for kids?

 

Is it good for your kids?

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My husband gets like that, too (even though we have all the technology stuff). He compares houses, cars, vacations, everything ... UP. He never looks at those who have less (which, frankly, is almost everyone in the world ... we just happen to live in a wealthy part of America, which skews our perspective). He feels like he isn't providing. It's heartbreaking because we have everything we need and more, and have chosen to save for the future and keep ourselves out of debt rather than financing a "fabulous" life ... but all he can see is that so-and-so got an iPad instead of an Android tablet, or went to Disneyworld instead of camping at the lake, or built a new home instead of buying an "antique" like we did. Meanwhile, our bills are paid, our home is lovely (if I'd just clean it more), our cars are paid for and nice (if getting older), and we splurge frequently on meals out or little activities rather than large vacations.

 

I would just caution everyone not to judge other people who consume more, whether it be technology or something else. You happen to know a lot about that couple's finances, so it's easy to assume they are in debt, but not everyone who spends differently than you goes into debt to do it. Even the family in question may have been given a windfall you are unaware of.

 

While this may be true, there is a huge problem with debt in our country (and worldwide). Many families are just comfortable having a lot of debt. I don't think it's a huge leap in this case.

 

Best to keep your eyes on your own work ... or if you MUST compare, compare down. Look at the truly poor in this country and worldwide, and remember how fortunate we all are to have warm, dry places to surf the boards and debate the proper place of high-end technology in a child's life.

 

:iagree:Comparing in general leads to dissatisfaction, and we all seem to forget how privileged we are, but it is hard to be constantly dealing with people who live so differently than your own family.

 

To the OP: I think I would be sure to do lots of smiling and keep conversations to a real minimum with this family just b/c you are so different. It will keep you from even thinking about these issues. You will be happier.

 

I don't see what your neighbor told you as gossiping. I want to know about those kinds of things so I can be on my guard. But, I would tell people in the future that you really don't care to discuss the situation of that particular family. You'll be happier, no matter what the reason for their prosperity.

 

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I try not to care what other people are doing with their money. So much may be going on behind the scenes, i.e., maybe the grandparents are footing the bills, that you don't know about. Whatever is going on, it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Focus on your own family and you will be so much happier! :grouphug: :001_smile:

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I can understand frustration at different ways that people live and parent. But, the reality is that we all do the best we can with our kids.

 

Yes, there are those who will go further into debt in order to buy the newest thing for their kids. They might hide it or they may flaunt it. There are those that flaunt how little they spend or get by with for themselves and their kids and. I find this equally annoying to be honest with you. There is always going to be someone who outspends "the universal you" because it is important to them to do so for their own reasons, and there will always be the one who pats themselves on the back for not spending x amount of money because that is important to them and their philosophy of parenting.

 

It really doesn't surprise me. I know both types of people. I am happy for those whose dc got ipads and smartphones. Congrats on the blessings. I know the ones who are so proud that they bought their dc one present each and resisted the temptation to overspend and have 0 debt in their lives. Congrats to them too. We are neither :D.

 

Jewellsmommy,

who is happily living life in the vast middleness of the middle.

 

 

ETA: i didn't mean to sound snarky or preachy. So just smile and nod with me. :)

Edited by jewellsmommy
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background: A couple we know from church lived in a garden home community close by. 2 bedroom house, tiny lot, etc and they have 2 children. Both parents working - he does something medical at a hospital (xrays or ultrasound works) and she works for a bank as a credit analyst. He got fired from his job. Several months go by and they have not mentioned struggles or needing any kind of help. (We have helped other couples with similar struggles - the church and individuals - the keep them in their home.) During this time our neighbor (and us) have our house for sell. We didn't really have to but want to get further out with more land. Neighbors needed to move for work. They eventually offered their home for rent at $1,850 per month! (This seemed ridiculously high but this young couple has purchased the home at $245,000 right before the economy turned and they needed to cover their mortgage and the fee charged by the rental agency.) Bc we were friends with the young couple trying to sell or rent their home, they ended up telling us that they were going to be renting to a couple who had filed bankruptcy bc they was the only offer they had and they really needed to get out from the under the house. The next thing we know the original couple who just filed bankruptcy on their small garden home is now moving in across from us. I'm shocked that they can't afford to keep their small garden home and file bankruptcy but now they can afford to pay $1,850 per month in rent when dad still wasn't working.

 

These parents let their kids run wild, ride their bikes back and forth and down the middle of our busy street and flaunt that privilege in front of our kids who are not allowed to do this bc of the danger. I've seen cars have to slam their brakes on to avoid hitting one of their kids half a dozen times. We've been told by another neighbor that the oldest son, 9, has already been caught looking at porn on the internet and the dad even told us that one morning when he got up his son was watching a R rated movie on HBO in his room. (Well, duh, if you give your kids access, of course that could happen!)

 

So now it's December and dad did work briefly for a landscaping company but is not working now. They came home with a new car early December. He comes out today while my DH is out taking down the wreaths and kids are playing football/riding bikes. He immediately starts to brag about all the things they bought their kids for Christmas. They bought and ipod touch for each of sons - 1st grade and 4th grade along with a long list of many other high price items. Then he told DH how you can download apps for texting and watching movies, etc. I mean really? Does a 1st grader need an ipod touch with internet access? But his dad told DH - "well all the kids have them."

 

My 11 year old has been saving his money for a lmost 2 years and just got one. He is not allowed to have it in his room. He doesn't have the password to download any games, so we have to approve them all and put the password in. We have not downloaded an app to allow him to text - he is not allowed to surf the internet on it without us supervising closely.

 

My husband comes in upset. How do they afford these high ticket items? My DH is an accountant for a large hospital. He makes a good salary. We have all we need - (not all we want of course!). My children each had 3 Santa gifts and 4 gifts from us. They all got one "big" item around $50 and the rest of the gifts were each $5-$20. So we spent around $125 for each kid.

 

Do many kids really have this kind of technology at their fingertips at this young of an age? Is this normal? Is this good for kids?

 

I'm mainly just venting! I want my kids to play games and run and enjoy toys. Am I weird? Not accepting of today's culture? My kids clearly feel left out - are we being mean that we don't want them to have this kind of stuff?

They will be evicted soon for nonpayment of rent. Hopefully before there is a car accident.

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So the information you're sharing with us is about members of your local body of Christ?

 

 

 

Are you totally and absolutely sure that these kids are flaunting their privilege? Or are they just being kids having fun? Are you sure that it is totally unacceptable for kids to ride their bikes on this street? Or are you being controlled by fear? Why are you letting yourself feel bad for giving your children a boundary to keep them safe? Is it your neighbor's job to make sure they don't do anything/give anything to their kids to prevent your children from having a discontent emotional response?

 

Have you ever experienced your children disobeying you in such a way that they saw or heard something that you did not want them to see? Was this due to a failure in your parenting or was this due to your children failing to obey?

 

 

 

Is this different from you telling us how much you got to spend on your kids' Christmas?

 

 

Are you completely and totally ready drop everything you are doing and watch your son surf the web when he wants to do so? Are you completely and totally 100% sure that he will not ever see something inappropriate even if you are surfing with him?

 

 

 

 

Yes.

 

Who gets to decide what is normal?

 

 

 

Is it good for your kids?

 

Excellent questions.

 

To the OP, I don't think it's the technology that's bugging you. I think it's these folks having stuff you feel they haven't earned when your family can't afford it/hasn't choosen to purchase it. And I think it's fair to vent about that, just make sure you vent, understand what's bothering you and then dump the resentment.

 

You're doing great with your kids. You're giving them a good childhood. No need to compare yourself or your family to this other one. Hope the best for them and get on with your family life. :)

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My 14 and 12 y.o. share a computer that the 14 y.o. paid for saving 18 months of allowance. If 14 y.o. wants games he pays for them himself.

 

DDs 10, 8, 6, and 3 share a computer.

 

No ipads, kindles, cell phones for the kids-- DH has a tracphone, I have a cell for emergencies only.

 

Only the 14 y.o. is allowed to use the internet freely-- I trust him implicitly. The girls aren't allowed to google or go online without express permission and someone watching them-- which is pretty much never.

 

They play a lot of video games... Sims, minecraft, warcraft, etc.. So while we're heavy on PC gaming we don't have gadgets and it doesn't bother me.

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I have had a similar conversation to myself in my head all day about kids and electronics. Most of the kids my oldest dc's ages received Ipod Touches for Christmas. I am frustrated because I do not want to make room in our tight budget to support fancy new electronics every year for everyone in our family. And, at the rate electronics change, it really seems to be an annual thing. Or....if we buy a DS, we have to buy games to go with it. If we buy a smartphone, we have to buy a data package. The financial impact of one electronic device is long reaching. I don't want to consume at this level, and I doubt we will. But then my kids will always be on the outside looking in. They will be the weird kids or uncool or whatever the other kids brand them. That hurts as a parent. I feel stuck between a rock and hard place, and I am frustrated.

 

My DH wasn't mad but feeling like he has let us down - that is what upset me the most. We have consciously made our decisions about what we want our kids to have, but even if we wanted those gifts would be out of our budget.

 

This frustrates me too. My dh works his butt off to provide for us, but he too feels like he is letting us down. There is no end to our list of needs, and we don't get to our list of wants very often. I am thankful and blessed to be debt-free other than the mortgage and saving for retirement, but it is also hard to feel like we aren't gaining momentum. We are likely to be in the same financial place in 5 or 10 years. I don't see things getting better.

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I'd quit gossiping with everybody in town about this family. Better not to know what they're up to, and better still not to contribute to those conversations.

 

As far as doing without luxuries goes, your children's attitudes will reflect your own. You might have a problem if this vent is your reaction and your DH came home mad that the neighbors had electronics they can't afford! Your kids are sooo going to pick up on that. If you are jealous and angry, they will be, too. If you are thankful and content it is more likely that your kids will grow to view the world that way, too.

 

It is hard to be different from the neighbors. I think many of us have BTDT. Homeschoolers, especially, because the vast majority are choosing to live on one income so Mom can teach the kids. But that was a choice we made.

 

Sounds like you had a good Christmas! You outspent us by $75 per kid.

 

:iagree:

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My kids are all teens or young adults. We would have more electronic gadgets if we felt it was a wise way to spend money at this point. When work picks up, certainly I want to upgrade to smart phones.

 

The only family's finances that concern me are my own or those for whom I am a fiduciary payee.

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Excellent questions.

 

To the OP, I don't think it's the technology that's bugging you. I think it's these folks having stuff you feel they haven't earned when your family can't afford it/hasn't choosen to purchase it. And I think it's fair to vent about that, just make sure you vent, understand what's bothering you and then dump the resentment.

 

You're doing great with your kids. You're giving them a good childhood. No need to compare yourself or your family to this other one. Hope the best for them and get on with your family life. :)

 

:iagree:

 

There are a million different VALID ways to parent. I am not a free range parent but many here are. I do not unschool but many here do. We have loads of technology in our house (you should see my 2yo operate an iPad... Amazing!) but many people don't. I work outside the home but most moms here's don't. We are all making choices that feel right for us.

 

They parent and run their finances differently than you have chosen to and unless it affects you DIRECTLY then it really isn't your business. Be happy with your choices and move on.

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Yep. That's life. People all over are doing things in all sorts of different ways. :001_smile:

 

Sometimes it boggles my mind how proud some people seem to be about shielding their kids from technology. There are plenty of people who disagree and believe that exposure to it has benefits. Around here, we think of it as necessity. I NEED my kids to have things like iPods because it helps our home function better. They use them as alarm clocks, dictionaries, calculators, etc. They watch movies, read books, look things up. My daughter is mixing music for a cheer routine on hers right now. ;)

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Andrea Lowry, I've seen cars have to slam their brakes on multiple times to avoid hitting one of their kids - in my mind that makes this a busy road and perhaps dangerous. When their kids ride to our driveway and then back across to theirs and back and back and forth, back and forth I would call that flaunting but maybe you wouldn't. And yes, they are part of our local church, but instead of gossiping with others in the neighborhood or church I came here to vent. Do you ever just feel the need to vent? I have prayed for this couple during the the time of job loss so I'm not a horrible monster. WIth sharing our spending I was only trying to point out that we didn't even spend enough for each kid to purchase an ipod. My spending is spread out over the course of several months as I start in the summer, and we put back money from our tax refund every year to pay for Christmas.

 

 

To EVERYONE: Thanks for your comments. I know I parent differently and that is ok! I don't understand the need for a 1st grader who goes to public school to have an ipod touch, but again to each his own. But neither me or my DH would have ever rushed over to the neighbors and started bragging about what we bought our kids for Christmas. I think it was just too many things that have bothered me over the last few months with this couple and their lifestyle and this really upset me. Thanks for letting me vent!

 

Happy New Year's everyone!

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Water seeks its own level, so I wouldn't be discussing their finances or even thinking about them. That's on them.

 

Yes, my kids have a lot of technology. They also play outside most of the day, and in the summer swim all day long. They are just as happy building lego and Lincoln log cities, as they are playing angry birds.

 

I am there to make sure the balance is kept. :D

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Yep. That's life. People all over are doing things in all sorts of different ways. :001_smile:

 

Sometimes it boggles my mind how proud some people seem to be about shielding their kids from technology. There are plenty of people who disagree and believe that exposure to it has benefits. Around here, we think of it as necessity. I NEED my kids to have things like iPods because it helps our home function better. They use them as alarm clocks, dictionaries, calculators, etc. They watch movies, read books, look things up. My daughter is mixing music for a cheer routine on hers right now. ;)

 

For us, and many other people, it isn't about 'shielding' our kids from anything. :confused: We have nearly every video game system on the planet (with the exception of the xbox/360. We don't like Microsoft), and we really like technology :D. I think MOST people who don't have tons of technology for their kids just don't see it as a worthwhile way to spend what money they have.

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My kids have all sorts of technology. My 3 DDs each have a MacBook they bought with money the got from selling pigs at fair. There's no way I could afford to buy them all MacBooks.

 

Maybe these neighbor kids have a rich grandparent? Or maybe these neighbors are in debt up to their eyeballs?

 

People have different priorities. I actually know someone who stopped making her house payments (she wasn't upside down and the house is very modest) because her DD wanted to go to San Diego State. This woman decided to lose the house she raised her kids in so that she could pay for her DDs tuition. This same woman tried to lay a guilt trip on me because I couldn't afford to send my DD to the same school. Oh well. I would never willingly lose my house to send a kid to college but to each their own! Of course it all turned out fine for her, after a year of not making payments the bank forgave part of what she owed and refi'd her loan.

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OP, I see this sort of behavior with many people these days. Not the technology concerns because tech is simply a part of life now. But, the accumulation of 'stuff' as a way to validate themselves is still prevalent. Maybe this guy's self worth has been threatened to the point where he believes bolstering himself by bragging about what he buys for his kids makes him feel better? Maybe he sees others gaming the system these days and taking on debt then walking away? Could be any number of factors. All I can say is kudos to you for raising kids in a responsible manner! Chances are they won't be there long anyway....so let it go. You are modeling the behavior for your kids. There simply is no accounting for the lifestyles some choose, right?

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We grew up across the street from a family that had two kids and all the luxuries. (back then only one person needed to work, and if you had only two kids you had all the luxuries plus fancy vacations and new cars instead of used) Not sure why a credit analyst could not afford a tiny house with two kids? Even now?

 

But anyway. We did envy their luxuries for a day or two right after Christmas, and then we forgot about them. I think we actually had a more fun childhood because there were enough kids in our household that there was always something to do, someone to play with. Unlike the kids across the street who got bored with their fancy stuff.

 

There were always parents who let their kids run wild. But that didn't have anything to do with us. Are you worried it will rub off on your kids? Given the level of supervision, I wouldn't let them play over there. Probably wouldn't let them play at your house, either, if they're going to surf pornography on their technology.

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Sometimes it boggles my mind how proud some people seem to be about shielding their kids from technology. There are plenty of people who disagree and believe that exposure to it has benefits.

 

:iagree:We have a great deal of technology in our house, and we love it. I don't see it having a negative effect on any of my children.

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Haven't read the other responses yet, but I do think it's very common for kids to have a ton of technology. We choose not to, for many reasons. My dd11 has dh's old iPod touch, but it's really just an mp3 player because she only has a couple of games and no internet access. They don't have games, they don't have phones, and we barely have TV--just basic cable. It's just what we choose to do.

 

I will say I was quite saddened when we went to my inlaws for Christmas this year. The grandchildren range in age from 9 to 20 and with the exception of my children, myself and my mother-in-law, pretty much everyone was in their own little technological world for the two days we were there. There were iPods, iPads, laptops, cell phones...you name it. My brother in law was uploading our Christmas dinner Facebook photos DURING CHRISTMAS DINNER! A few of the kids did sit down and play some board games, but each one was listening to their iPod at the same time. It was pretty creepy.

 

I don't judge others for what they have, but I sure wish there were some global guidelines/rules/etiquette for usage.

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Vent away. I know I used to get envious sometimes but I tried to remember why we live frugally. There is an older book called "The millionaire next door" that I recommend. Now we get to reap the rewards and the freedom is amazing. Many of our peers are in debt and have little choices in their lives, we can and do anything we like without worrying. It was worth it 10 times over!

 

As for the bike riding, you can't expect others to parent the same. I am one of the moms who give my kids a lot more area to roam than some. I know it is a risk, but I feel the reward balances it out. I know we are tsked about by other parents.

We don't have most technology, but the kids have computers at the ready, and video games. They can have a cell phone when they get jobs and can pay the bill. They ask for them, but they can call me from a landline to arrange transportation or let me know they are where they are or getting ready to leave. I also don't let tech in their bedrooms. But that is a family choice.

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Water seeks its own level, so I wouldn't be discussing their finances or even thinking about them. That's on them.

 

Yes, my kids have a lot of technology. They also play outside most of the day, and in the summer swim all day long. They are just as happy building lego and Lincoln log cities, as they are playing angry birds.

 

I am there to make sure the balance is kept. :D

 

:iagree:My two oldest kids have phones, laptops and Ipods. My youngest has an Ipod. My dh and I have a PC. Dh also has a laptop. I have an Ipad2. My youngest is well versed in using all of the technology that he doesn't "own", but that resides in our house. We look at them as tools for making our lives easier and better. That's all they are. Well, they are also fun. My Ipad2 is A LOT of fun. :lol:

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I do think it's common but not really that way at our house. DD8 (our oldest) just got DH's old iphone for Christmas to use for camera, music, and games. We would not have spent that much on a new one, it was only because we already had it. She is not allowed to go online without supervision and cannot download any games/apps without the password that we put in. There are also restrictions on where and when she can use it.

 

Our kids occasionally use our iphones and laptops for games, but not often. We just got Netflix and before then, only had DVD capabilities on our TV (no cable, satellite, etc.) We do not own any gaming systems.

 

Technology can be really great and beneficial. But at a certain point, technology becomes a huge time-sucker and not beneficial and that's where we try to draw the line. I do not feel pressured to get more technology for the kids because their friends have it. I know that there are many parenting choices DH and I make that our kids' friends' parents would not make (like homeschooling for one). And that's ok. I do what is best for my kids.

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OP, I understand. It is very frustrating.

 

There was a couple we knew who complained that they had only one vehicle. We had an extra one and gave it to them. They turned around and sold it for $1400 and bought a new car with $400/month car payments!? (We could have sold it ourselves and been thrilled to have the $, but we felt we could help them in this way. We were more than a little frustrated.)

 

Life is tough like that. I know you just have to go on but I understand your frustration.

 

Another thought... all that technology in families may be the new "normal", but who's to say that "normal" is "healthy"?

 

We know people who spend like that and have found out that they are in deep debt... like $750,000! I imagine that couple has a lot of debt or will soon.

 

It doesn't seem fair that they have all these fun things and freedoms. But I guess life isn't fair. Your way of handling life may end up being a lot healthier, safer, smarter, etc.

 

Hang in there!

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My kids have all sorts of technology. My 3 DDs each have a MacBook they bought with money the got from selling pigs at fair. There's no way I could afford to buy them all MacBooks.

 

Maybe these neighbor kids have a rich grandparent? Or maybe these neighbors are in debt up to their eyeballs?

 

People have different priorities. I actually know someone who stopped making her house payments (she wasn't upside down and the house is very modest) because her DD wanted to go to San Diego State. This woman decided to lose the house she raised her kids in so that she could pay for her DDs tuition. This same woman tried to lay a guilt trip on me because I couldn't afford to send my DD to the same school. Oh well. I would never willingly lose my house to send a kid to college but to each their own! Of course it all turned out fine for her, after a year of not making payments the bank forgave part of what she owed and refi'd her loan.

 

I have some good friends who sold their house to send their kids to college. I found it admirable. Of course they SOLD it instead of not making payments and risking the damage to their credit.

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I don't know if having so much contact with

people one disapproves of is a good idea.

I would be getting my kids

far away from that kid and dad if I didn't like the things

he did. If they are doing bad things then you

should be happy that you are doing the right

thing for your kids. It doesn't matter what

they do--it only matters what your kids do, and

if you are happy with it, then all is good!

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I don't think the OP was judging anyone, I think she just wanted to vent which is something that most of us need to do at one time or another. I, too, have wondered how friends could afford smart phones, and the latest electronic gadgets for their children. Yes, I know its none of my business but I'm human and I do have these fleeting thoughts.

 

My son has mentioned that most of his friends have data plans on their phones which run about $60/mo. He didn't say he wanted one and I explained we really don't want/can't afford to spend any extra money on these things. We do choose to take a nice vacation every year which is something his friends don't do. Its all about your family priorities. And, I understand where your husband is coming from too. My husband earns a very good salary (and I work part time) yet I still can't see how we can afford to buy all the latest things. I am content, yet I too wonder. It's ok.

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