Welcome back to The Parenting Panel! I LOVE learning from other parents and viewing the world through different perspectives. I started the panel in hopes that we can all come together as a parenting community, rather than continue to judge the choices other families make. There is not one right way to parent…NO ONE has all the answers and there is no catch-all solution that works for every family. We’re all different and we all wake up and try to do the best we can for our kids. Let’s learn from each other and see if we can take away any ideas or realizations from others’ experiences! While this is still a fairly new feature on the blog, you can check out the Parenting Panel Archives, HERE!

This week’s question is a bit more open-ended and invites a lot of opinion. Our panelists are all over the board on today’s topic (which i LOVE), and I hope that someone on the panel’s ideas, wisdom, and experience will resonate with YOU. I strongly believe that there is not one right way to parent or raise our kids, and I LOVE that we can come together here on the blog and learn from the way other people are choosing to raise their kids. Sometimes we come away with a great nugget. Sometimes we are re-affirmed by our own choices. Sometimes we stop and re-evaluate. My hope is that you learn to value your own choices and respect the choices of others. I love learning from each other! We’re a bit down in numbers this week, as quite a few members of the panel weren’t able to respond this time. I would love to find a few more parents (who have time to answer a few questions a month, and regularly check their email!). If you’re interested, please let me know!

For today, I hope you’ll find the opinions expressed useful…re-assuring…helpful…I know I do! I have come to appreciate these women and love their vulnerability each time we post!

Discuss how you feel about children using gaming technology (computer, apps, portable gaming, gaming systems, etc.) Feel free to discuss age, time, content, restrictions, etc. Be open and honest.

Panelist: Bekki (Chasing Supermom)

Who She Is: mom of three kids (5, 3, 10 months, and one coming in February!)

Find Her:http://www.chasingsupermom.com http://www.facebook.com/chasingsupermom @chasingsupermom

Response: I was one of those people who swore they’d never let their kid play video games. Of course, this was before I actually had any children….Well, I review for Nintendo, so yes, my kids play video games on occasion. However, we are big believers in age-appropriate material, time limits, and gaming as a privilege, not a right. My children are only allowed to play games that are rated E, and that I pre-screen and approve. They play for limited time amounts, and only when well-behaved. The Wii is a special activity at our house and the DS is typically pulled out during long car rides and doctor’s office waits, etc.

Both of my older children (5 and 3) know how to use a computer. I taught both of the kids how to use the computer shortly after their 3rd birthday. They know how to use the keyboard, the mouse, navigate a web page, etc. Let’s face it….technology is the way of the future and I want my kids to fully understand how to effectively use technology. The kids have a folder on the desktop marked “Kids Games” which contains shortcuts to about 5 different sites. These are the only sites they are allowed to use (and are all educational games sites.) We feel like as long as we are keeping things in balance, and keeping inappropriate material away from the kids, that integrating technology into their life is not only fun, but necessary in today’s world.


Panelist: Josephine

Who She Is: Soon to be mama of 3 (4, 14 months, and one on the way!)

Response: I think that there are many benefits to all of the technology that is out there. For our family (for now) we have agreed that limited computer games are acceptable (my son is 4) and that is all that he knows! My son has access to our ‘Jumpstart’ computer games during any free play times – and also enjoys playing the games that they offer at the library. My 1 year old daughter has been introduced to an ipad (and maybe if I knew what I was doing we would consider it…but for now we are happy with our limited technology access for our children)


Panelist: Christy

Who She Is: mom of two teens!

Find Her: on Twitter @busybee76

Response: For some age groups, I don’t find it necessary or appropriate. My kids have phones, games, ipods, TVs & computers of their own but times have changed a lot over the past even couple of years. More and more kids are getting these things given to them at a younger age.

If this is something that fits your lifestyle, fine. But, I believe in limits.
When my kids first got a phone, there was only ONE and they had to SHARE it. It actually worked out pretty well until one of them would leave with it and the other needed or wanted to use it. So eventually, they each had their own. I would monitor those things like mad, checking every call and every message just to make sure they were following the rules. Lately, I don’t do it as much and when I do ask for their phones to check what they’re up to, they gladly hand them over and I’ve never had a problem. I believe that setting those rules & expectations early on showed them how to earn my trust & act responsibly so they could keep them.
Both kids have TV in their rooms and they have limits on those as well. If they’re caught breaking the rules, they lose that privilege. They’re pretty good with that and don’t really over do it. TV is never on in the mornings on school days in our house and I believe that’s made a huge difference. I see others that do allow it and it’s usually the same thing- their kids watch TV instead of getting ready and they’re late or won’t cooperate. It’s simple, no TV before school gets 100% attention & cooperation. Even now at almost 16 & 14, there’s no TV before school, they don’t even try it, even on those late start days!

So I guess what I’m getting at is if this is something you do for your kids, getting them the latest “gadget”, just set limits & they will learn how to use it responsibly.


Who She Is: all-natural mama of 1 (17 months)

Find Her: chasesview.blogspot.com

Response: My daughter is only 18 months so she’s not into tv and gaming and all that (yet!).  She does, however, like to call random people from my phone address book and try to text!  When she does become interested in playing video games I plan to limit the amount of time and type of games she plays.


Panelist: Tracy

Who She Is: mom of 3 (16, 13, and 9)

Find Her: Her blog/site: www.superblakebooks.com On Facebook:  facebook.com/superblakebooks On Twitter: twitter.com/superblakebooks

Response: I know this is a hot topic amongst many people.  I think it’s like anything else in life, everything in moderation.  We happen to be a very technology-minded family.  We have multiple computers, ipads, iphones, ipods, xbox360, Wii and handheld gaming systems.  My husband is in IT and I work a lot with social media.  We are probably more open to it because we are in “the trenches” everyday with this technology and it doesn’t seem invasive or annoying.  That being said everything has a time and place when it is appropriate and it shouldn’t take away from your daily life.  My children are well-rounded and social beings so they don’t play video games for hours at a time on a regular basis.  There are times when my daughters get really into a Nancy Drew CD-rom game and end up playing it for a good length of time over the weekend or on a school holiday.  My son is more likely to play for longer periods of time, especially when he gets a new game.  I just make sure he’s getting enough outside playtime or have him take a break and do something non-electronic.  (Lego’s anyone?)  You can definitely find a balance and help your children be more self-aware about spending time doing a variety of things so it won’t get out of hand.  I don’t usually have to intervene when it comes to technology but I do, on occasion, restate the policy of no electronic devices until homework is completed.


Panelist: Brandi

Who She Is: homeschooling mom of 4

Response: I have a 9yr old boy so this is an issue in our home. We have several gaming devices and computers. My daughter could take it or leave it, but my son is consumed by them. So we have had to set up boundaries. We allow about 45min to an hour a day. Same with T.V. We have had several conversations with our son about what’s important in life and his priorities and if we feel that the gaming systems are becoming to important to him and he’s fighting us for more time or whining then he looses his privileges until it’s not an issue. Otherwise he would sit and play them ALL day. I think they are a lot of fun for kids and family’s and can be a fun family bounding thing, but should be limited also.


Who She Is: homeschooling mother of 2 (9 and 2), mother of a child with ADHD, SPD, and a peanut allergy

Find Her: http://www.peanutsareevil.com and on Twitter @nolamom76

Response: Technology, this is something that has been weighing on my mind lately. I LOVE technology. LOVE IT. And I’m struggling with how much the kids need in their lives. I’ve read countless articles that suggest by the time our kids are adults 65% of their jobs haven’t been created yet and will be based in technology. So I think it’s important. And my oldest responds and learns better when he is using some sort of technology in his learning.
As far as school goes, I try to incorporate the computer, audiobooks and learning apps into our day as much as I can. We recently started the
Passport Series by Amanda Bennett and it’s almost completely online. We use Spelling City to review our spelling and Mathblasters to review math. I also have some apps on my phone that they both can access such as Super Why, a few musical theory ones. We are also getting them a tablet to share in the next 6 months for school.

Limits – we don’t really have any limits. They are free to play with their tech toys (Wii, DS, my phone, the computer) as much as they want. I’m finding that they really don’t play with it that much. We have days where
they do all day long, and then we have days like today where they spent the whole afternoon at the park. We have a good balance. If and when it comes to a point where I see they are having too much screen time, then I
will place limits. But for now we’re ok without them.


*Chasing Supermom does NOT tolerate negative/judgmental commenting. If you disagree with someone on the panel, that is great, and you are free to believe in what works for you….One reason I set up this panel was to allow people from differing points of view to express themselves. I disagree with several people on the panel on several issues…and love this. Bottom line: My blog is not a place of judgment. Every parent is free to be wholly themselves and true to their family and their children.