Friday 28 October 2016

'As an older mum I'm at a disadvantage not being computer savvy'

Published 13/08/2016 | 02:30

Communication: Julie Greene and her daughter Lucy
Communication: Julie Greene and her daughter Lucy

When it comes to her 13-year-old daughter Lucy's use of technology, Julie Greene from Bray, Co Wicklow aims to get the balance just right.

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"As an older mum - I'm 55 - I sometimes feel at a slight disadvantage, because I'm not as computer-literate as younger parents, but I'm learning.

"I'm conscious that I won't be the most important person in Lucy's life in years to come. Her friendships will play a huge role, and keeping in touch online is part and parcel of communication for her generation.

"I trust her, and I feel I have to give her a certain autonomy and not keep checking on her every five minutes. But there's no way I'd give her a gift of 'Grand Theft Auto'.

"You go into a restaurant and see children as young as three being handed tablets while their parents eat in peace. Technology is being used as a babysitting service early on.

"Whatever the new study claims, Lucy is more interested in Snapchat and Instagram than video games, and she's brilliant at maths. She's not on Facebook, yet. There's plenty of time for that.

"Lucy typically spends up to an hour in the evening on her iPad. If young people spend excessive amounts of their days looking at a screen, I think there's a real risk that they won't learn to be empathetic, ride a bicycle, run and play and achieve everything they can.

"There is a world offline and I'm very conscious of this. Lucy does horseriding, rowing and is a member of the Sea Scouts."

Irish Independent

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