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A Historic Progressive Conservative Congregation in Valley Village, CA
A Dynamic Jewish Early Childhood Center Serving Children Ages 6 Weeks to Entering Pre-K
A Jewish Day School serving students in Grades TK-6
A Historic Progressive Conservative Congregation in Valley Village, CA

Keeping Our Children Children

01/17/2020 03:43:28 PM


Shara Peters


Do you know what generation label our children have? People born between 1995 and 2015, that’s ages 4-24, are known as Gen D (for digital), Gen Z (following Gen Y, otherwise known as Millennials), or the iGen. This is the largest generation, representing 25% of the nation’s population. 

They are “Digital Natives”, media multitaskers, publishers, creators, entrepreneurial, and activists who are ready to make the world a better place. They struggle with faith, patience, attention spans, being disconnected, discomfort, and uncertainty. They are our children.

With the ease of access to technology, childhood looks different today than it did when we were children. Our kids will never know what it means to wait through the MoviePhone recording, waiting to hear the movie title announced that they want to go see. We teach them how to use an encyclopedia and a dictionary mostly for our own nostalgia purposes. They will not know what it means to look at a map before they leave on a trip to plan a route. They will only know instant gratification. As adults, we have come to expect instant gratification— I emailed you three hours ago, why haven’t you responded?— but at least we still know a world without it. 

Parenting in this climate can be scary; technology is developing at such a rapid pace that it’s almost impossible to be up-to-date on the most current advantages and dangers. We are seeing children with Smartphones at younger and younger ages in elementary school. It gives them access to the entire world before they are developmentally ready for it. 

This week, Sari Goodman held a parent education session at Coffee, Kibbitz, and Connect about kids and Smartphones. You can click here to read the notes of that session, as well as see a small dictionary of lingo that will help you understand your connected child’s world. I encourage you to read the main points of the meeting, and reach out to Sari or to me if you are interested in having any follow-up conversations. 

At this year’s TK/Kindergarten orientation, I mentioned a movement starting among parents to opt out of the technology race for their children. You’d be surprised about who is starting this movement: tech executives who are parents in the Silicon Valley. You can read more about one family’s journey here

Remember that it takes a village to raise a child. Setting limits regarding technology is exponentially easier if you are not the only parent doing it. Talk with your parent friends about the norms you want to set regarding technology, and make those decisions before your children ask you about it. That being said, don’t be afraid to be the only one. YOU are the parent. 

 1 Data and opinions presented by Jennifer Groen, Director of Strategy and Enrollment Management at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy at the Day School Leadership Training Institute Alumni Retreat on December 11, 2019.

We’re all navigating this frontier together!





Sun, March 29 2020 4 Nisan 5780