Managing My Son’s e-Tablet

By Eugene Paul Young

It is quite overwhelming and difficult for me as a parent and teacher to manage the use of my son’s tablet as a learning tool, albeit the other applications that seems to take up most of his time; the games (labeled as “educational” from his point of view) that have eaten up time which I feel should be spent studying, or even social media that somehow postpones productive time with family and friends.

I have resigned to the idea that this is the way to go and have accepted the fact that eventually, educational institutions will follow our lead with respect to gadgets as tools of learning. However, there have to be interventions, guidelines, restrictions, put in proper perspective to maximize the use of the tablet in an educational environment… and here is where difficulties lie.

No matter what the school has done to “block” applications that do not comprise the very intentions of its use as a learning tool, my son has learned or found ways to circumvent the defensive mechanisms and proceed to download, upload, copy, or install other applications for his personal entertainment. There is nothing I can do to prevent this except to check what these applications are and if they truly serve as conduits of “wholesome” entertainment. So there! That would be one of the things I had to do to work with him and the system. It’s not policing (yeah, right) but rather a way of communicating to my son that these are alright as long as it develops and feeds his interests as an individual to help him grow as a better person. Of course I had to affirm his creative mind in circumventing problems and arriving at solutions but with raised eyebrows, process that these are mechanisms that the school has put in place for their own good.

When we speak of time management, it boils down to how much time is given in using the tablet for studying against using it for “games”. I would help in terms of planning tablet use for the rest of the day after school and on weekends. My first question would be…”Do you have homework?” If the answer is “yes”, then I proceed to ask…”How much homework do you have?” The answer to that question will determine how much time I will allow for him to use his tablet for other “stuff” only after he completes his homework. Maximum time would be 1 hour on weekdays and 2 hours on weekends (this can be flexible on account of good behavior), which he can strategically breakdown in sessions to complete the allotted time up until 9:00 pm only. The trick here is close monitoring and to throw the responsibility to him by letting him call out minutes expired from the time given. This makes him aware of how much time he has left. As a parent, this task is difficult but necessary to make him understand the value of managing time. It teaches discipline and seIf-control. If the answer is “No dad, I do not have homework”, the same rules apply.

I also allow my son to discover things that he can do with technology and share these so-called discoveries with me. It can be humbling to learn from a child with respect to gadgets & technology but it is a fact that they know better. When he comes to me, proudly showing off what he discovered and can do with the tablet, I listen, affirm and remind if the need be, that we have these things to help us learn, grow and know and to be what is expected of every Lasallian Christian Gentleman (…dapat kasama yon!)


Eugene Paul P. Young