Dear Daughter: About Tech

buzzard roost Farmers wife quilt dear daughter

Dear Daughter

I’ve chosen to make the Buzzard’s Roost block from the Farmer’s Wife Quilt book and tech usage for your letter, this time. For some reason, this quilt block wasn’t on my original list of blocks to-do. It jumped out at me, while I was flicking through the book, a few weeks ago.

I have to admit, I can’t fathom why this is a buzzard’s roost. Our local buzzards love roosting in the oak trees out the back. Usually one to a branch. To me this blocks seems to suggest that the birds sit in a square facing each other. Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. I know US buzzards are different to ours, so maybe it’s lost in the translation.

buzzard roost Farmers wife quilt dear daughter and book

We have buzzards that glide above our garden. I look forward to the late Spring when we’ll hear the family of buzzards meowing above our heads. I hope it will be a strong childhood memory for you in the future. Maybe when you hear a buzzard, it will transport you back to time when you played and helped in the garden as a child.

I’m hoping as the days warm up, you and your siblings will spend more time out in the garden again. Away from all the distractions of modern technology.

It does worry me. As a child, my summers were spent off in the woods, building dens, pond dipping at the local lake, swimming at the lido or hurtling around the roads on our bikes. buzzard roost Farmers wife quilt dear daughter and crochet

In the winter, I don’t remember being out as much, although I do remember sledging down roads in the snow, which must have made them a nightmare for the adults trying to drive on them. I think we read more, crafted lots and played. I know I read a lot of books. Nothing unusual, we all did. Children’s television was limited. No CBBC, and we didn’t have computers or mobiles.

Which brings me nicely on to the point of this letter. Just one fact that I want you to read. It’s not new. It’s not original, but it is true. Ready?

Here it is. It concerns screen time.

As soon as you sit, looking at the screen, you will lose all perception of time.

Minutes will turn to hours. It doesn’t matter if you are on your mobile or laptop, you will no longer be able to judge time. Even if it is educational (a common retort in our house). What feels like 30 minutes will, in reality, be 3 hours. It is as if time slows down and you only notice when you step away from the screen, to find that it’s hours later. Like Rip Van Winkle. It happens to us all.buzzard roost Farmers wife quilt dear daughter and other quilt blocks

Please, don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I love how it opens up new learning and fun that I could only have dreamed of at your age. My career is based on it and I have a degree to match, but I do worry that you are missing out on other wonderful activities. It’s OK. It’s part of my job as a mother to worry.

So do I have an answer? I know some people swear by setting a timer. Once it goes off, you stop. No “buts”. It may be worth a go.

We’ve been limiting screen time to between certain hours, which I think is working well. We’ve talked about tying screen time to reading time. Read for half an hour, to earn screen time.

At the end of the day, I hope you will learn to regulate yourself. I think this may be called a life skill, as time goes on.

buzzard roost Farmers wife quilt dear daughter patchworkSo, there you are, my daughter. The ball is in your court, so to speak. What will your childhood memories be? Are you going to let tech eat your time, like a ravenous, big bellied, ungrateful monster, or will you take control of it in the future? What will your childhood memories be? I’d love to know.

As ever

Your loving mother

This is part of my Dear Daughter Quilt project (more here). One quilt block for every letter.

p.s. Did you notice I’ve added 1920 to the top photo? I’ve recently discovered that there is a second book. This time based on the 1930 letters. Stopping myself from looking a the new book until I’ve finished this quilt. But if want to take a look, it’s here. Just don’t tell me anything about it, yet.

And my word of the week has to be “restraint”. For all of us!

22 thoughts on “Dear Daughter: About Tech

  • Thursday 17 March, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    This applies just as much to my daughter (and son). We’ve tried restrictions but my daughter is 13 now and it’s much harder. We do have a reading rule though – 8.30-9pm downstairs is reading time. I love to read, and my daughter did once too but she sees it as a chore to be suffered now. Fortunately my son is still an avid reader….

    • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Goodness. You could be describing us too! I’m sure the answer is to help them to regulate their own usage. After it is good training for later life. But how? I’m still working on it.

  • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    It is a tough issue and one I am currently battling with. While they were younger, it was easy to limit screen time, it is only now it is becoming an issue. I am soon going to have to start regulating it I think. #WoTW

    • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      From my experience, it only gets harder. Especially as homework is more computer based, as they get older, so they have a reason to be on there and then seem to drift onto something else. My daughter’s English teacher did suggest one evening completely gadget free, which I might trial. Just to see if it effects their behaviour the rest of the week.

  • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    My kids (and myself if I’m honest) do get sucked into 5 minutes becoming an hour. We have imposed time limits on them and to think that there is a definite improvement in behaviour the less time they have online. Hopefully they will learn to balance their time as they get older.

    • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      I agree. Time limits do help. Hopefully they will learn at the same time how they can control their time in the future, plus that there is a need to do it.

  • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I think you’re right in that this will likely become a life skill, one that we didn’t need to learn as kids, but is becoming crucial to our sanity now. My childhoods were much like yours, and I just read and read and read. My kids love playing together, reading, the garden and all of those other things you’ve mentioned, but when the TV’s on or they are playing games on the PS4 or Kindle, they’re lost to me, totally absorbed. I’m not yet at a time limit stage as they’re little, but I suspect that will come. Great lesson to learn, thanks for sharing with #WotW

    • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      It is easier when they are younger, but no less of an absorbing activity. We kept them gadget free for a very long time. (I know unbelievable for someone who works with computers, but there you go!) In fact it has only been about 2 or 3 years that they have had access, apart from television, so this is a relatively new problem for us.

  • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Discipline is always hard and instilling self discipline is harder. I think that your daughter will appreciate this eventually. I have to admit that I also have to do this to my little boy. He is so into his gadgets and I need to start limiting his gadget time soon!


    • Friday 18 March, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Self dicipline is needed and it is hard, but worth it.

  • Saturday 19 March, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I really enjoyed watching Back to the Weekend recently. A lack of technology in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was a bit of a theme. The 70’s won as the decade they most enjoyed. Yet when brought back to the present they all went back to interacting the way they had before.

    I was brought up with technology and my dad was hooked as was my first husband. Me and my husband both take out our phone at the earliest opportunity and actually I know I need to stop. If you find the answer let me know.

    Love the block. Something about the red fabric reminded me of chicken scratch.

    • Sunday 20 March, 2016 at 12:47 am

      I wish I had the answer. Maybe awareness is a good start. I watched Back to the Weekend. It was fascinating. I showed how family time was replaced by gadgets, as the decades passed. The messages I took away was that I need to consciously set time apart for family time otherwise it will be goobled up by screen time.

      I’ll have to look up chicken scratch.

  • Saturday 19 March, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I’m guilty.of this and have time.restrictions and mornngs/afternoon blocks where I don’t touch the tech. It is very addictive and think it is a big problem for a lot of people X #wotw

    • Sunday 20 March, 2016 at 12:48 am

      Too true. It’s easy for us all to lose time.

  • Saturday 19 March, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I think each generation of parents has something ‘new’ to work out, something that their parents have no experience of. For us it is technology. I strive for balance, as we are home edding it could take over when we are at home. I do limit their time, my ds is completely unable to do this for himself I have tried it was a horrendous experience! My dd is still ambivalent about it some days she will do stuff online other days not at all, she is still young so that may change as she gets older.

    • Sunday 20 March, 2016 at 12:58 am

      I can imagine that internet access and home ed must be a brilliant combination, but at the same time could take the day over. You are right. We all have our challenges. I seem to remember that hours watching TV was an issue when I was growing up. Fears that no one would read or play. Makes me wonder what is waiting for the next generation.

  • Monday 21 March, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Screen time seems to be the buzz word that’s going around our friends right now, too. Internet can be a brilliant thing, and I can imagine how amazing it could be for HomeEd, but regulating it in between must be a challenge. Mine are still a wee bit young so I can cut it off without too much fuss. I like your rule about reading between the hours of 8 til 9am, that’s a great rule to impose.

    • Monday 21 March, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      I think screen time has been an issue since TVs first appeared in homes. Just increasing opportunity, as the decades have gone by. Any strategy, to help them, has got to be worth considering. I like the idea of 8 til 9 rule. Means they are not staring at a screen running up to bedtime.

  • Monday 21 March, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I hope that with your guidance your daughter enjoys a happy balance of enjoying technology and feeling the wind in her hair. Our children’s childhood is nothing like ours was, but if we had more technology back then would we have so different t them? Probably not. The fact is, we as parents know what they are missing out on, whilst they feel sorry for us for the things we never had during our childhood.


    • Wednesday 23 March, 2016 at 12:00 am

      All things need balance. I would hope that all my children find that balance. I agree that we would more than likely be sucked in to the wonders of tech at the same age. If she did nothing but read, I’d be suggesting balance. If she did nothing but ride her bike, I would be suggesting other activities. It is the balance and variety that I hope she and her siblings discover. To focus on other things too.

  • Tuesday 22 March, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Completely agree with you regarding screen time. My two are too little to start imposing specific screen time limits, and to be honest, they very rarely use our tablet or phone. But I can see screen time restrictions starting soon. I would like to try and make Sunday a completely tech free day if possible.

    We also have Buzzards! There are a pair that roost in the ruined church at the back of our house. I’m looking forward to them returning soon. Xxx

    • Wednesday 23 March, 2016 at 12:04 am

      Love the idea of Sundays free of tech. A chance to do something else. Maybe even family time. How fabulous that you can see the buzzards roosting. Our local pair nest in a copse in the farm next door. We can see them gliding over the valley, being mobbed by allsorts of birds. Then one sunny day, they’ll be joined by their youngsters. A wonderful sight.

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