What if my child just wants to sit at the computer and play computer games?
I believe it is all to do with balance. As the parent we are still ultimately responsible for the child’s health and safety. We know, as an adult, that it is not healthy for kids to be in front of the TV or Computer all day.
If my child chose to sit at the piano all day, it would not be healthy for her long term either. Society doesn’t immediately see this as a problem, though in reality it is the same issue. Our children’s lives, as do our lives, need to have balance.
In my opinion there is a difference between sitting at a computer and being productive and sitting at the computer for recreation. In our family we limit the recreation time and monitor the productive time. By this I mean, a child has the freedom to play computer games for ½ hour a day though on those days TV choices are very limited. We see Recreational TV and Recreational Computer as
Screen Time on weekdays. I monitor Productive Computer time, purely for a physical health perspective. We need to stretch our muscles and work our eye muscles when we do a lot of computer work.
I believe when we make this difference between Productive and Recreational we can set boundaries a lot more clearer for the child/teen. Due to a generational difference, change in technology and society, parents often see the computer/screen issues as biggies. They are in our face. Though the girl who won’t do anything other than look after her horses, to the detriment of family relationships and personal friendships is in the same situation. A teen who wants to listen to music all the time is also walking away from balance.
We may need to recognise that our child has a passion, an ability even, for computer technology. We can direct their passion to purposeful pursuits where the computer is still the theme though maybe they are not sitting at the screen all day. The computer can still be the theme in how they spend their time; computer magazines, building a computer, teaching another child about computers etc are some options.
Though I believe in Identity and Delight directed education, I first and foremost, hold to the fact that the parents are the parents. It is our responsibility to identify the talents in the child, to maximise their growth with that talent and to keep their lives growing in a healthy way. This of course, may create conflict initially but balance, and consideration but you have your eyes on the long term goals.
Passions are not to rule our lives; the whole of God’s Word is.