The lesson I learnt on Black Friday

Oh! What fun! The school run on a Friday morning! Not just any Friday, it’s Black Friday.

Given all the hype, my son understands what this day entails. Of course, he knows better than to ask for any bargain deals because he, like me, cannot deal with malls and crowds.

During the morning commute, I tell him how his dad and one of our best friends visited a shopping centre after 10pm last night. They wanted to check if they could beat the queue at a popular retail outlet before midnight. 10pm was too late in their case and with the queue already snaking around the building, they ended up driving back home.

My son says to me, “Why did they do that? Black Friday is just mayhem!”

I’m surprised. He used the word “mayhem” in the correct context, but does he know what it means? Here’s how that part of the conversation went…

Me: What’s mayhem?
Son: It’s when no one knows what to do and things are like a disaster.
Me: Yes, but where did you learn that?
Son: Playing games on my tab. Games teach you things too, you know mum. It’s not just a game.

Dumbstruck moment. There’s silence. I don’t reply. And he goes back to playing his game for  few minutes until we reach school.

My instinctive reaction when I see my son with any technological device is to tell him to put it away. I think he spends enough time on it anyway. However, I need to be paying attention to what he is playing because he is learning. I shouldn’t always doubt the value of technology. But I know that too much technology isn’t good either.

Last night, we visited close family friends. Our sons did not touch their technogical devices. In fact they played for hours with toys and a squidgy ball that brought them loads of fun. Eventually we put on a movie for them and they fell asleep.

Lesson learnt, for me. There is a time and place for technology. Clearly I need to get with the programme.

What are your experiences of technology with your children? How does it help them? Do you have limits for screen time? Do you monitor what they are watching or playing? I would love to hear from you whether you are a parent or not.

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