Like the rest of us, my kids are addicted to the internet. Ever since I purchased my own iPod touch a few years back, I opened pandora’s box for all of us to enter. Soon after, the boy received his first tablet as a means to read more books. But the main selling point was the incredible access to the internet and their many applications. Then the hubby and doll got their tablets, a short time later, I upgraded to an iPhone and purchased a laptop for the family to use. Before long, I realized as a family, we were spending more time playing online than together. The other day, I read Americans spend an average of 90 minutes a day online. I can tell you, in my house, I wish that was the accurate number.
The other night a friend of ours stopped by to drop off some paperwork and remarked to us how cool it was to see the kids reading instead of watching TV. “Well, if they were actually reading…” I replied. “What? your TV is off and they’re both looking at their tablets”. He explained. “True, but you don’t know what kind of content they are actually seeing on those devices. I’ll lay odds 10 to 1 the boy is watching a video about a video game he may want to play someday and the doll is on a fan fiction site, reading about some couple she’s shipped from Once Upon a Time” I said. Looking back at the kids he shook his head slightly and said, “Boy I’m glad I’m not raising kids in this generation”.
When the kids were younger, I used to host a “No TV Wednesday” in an effort to open the kids to more the world had to offer. We would play games, go for walks and have art sessions. But somewhere along the way, we lost that free thinking day. So I decided I would institute “No internet days” in an effort to break my kids free from their internet addictions.
In an effort to get the kids off the internet and talk with real live people-namely their parents, I instituted “no internet” evening sessions with the hope we would talk to one another. However, what actually happened was akin to sitting in a hospital waiting room. All four of us simply stared off into space looking like we’d lost our best friends. “I know, let’s play a game of…” I began and was immediately shot down by boy and doll stereo sound. “Well then how about we build a puzz…” I tried before they interrupted again, “No thank you!” They both said. Well, at least they’re being polite, I thought to myself. “Bay you used to loved puzzles…” I tried. “I still do, just not the kind you’re offering” He replied and then drew a wicked smile across his face to reinforce his sarcastic wit.
“Mom, can I at least read a book?” the doll asked, pulling out her Kindle device. “The idea behind this exercise is to talk to us, your parents not to spend the evening online, isolating yourself from the rest of us” I said. “But I don’t have anything really to say and if you’re not going to let me go online, the least you could do is let me read a book” She argued. “So nothing is going on at school?” I asked. “Nope”. “What are your weekend plans?” I try. “You already know the answer to that…basketball” She added a layer of disgust to the word basketball as she said the word. “Besides that? Do you have any plans to hang out with your friends?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Anything?” The boy looked over and interjected, “I plan on hanging out at my Grandma’s and having some very nice conversations with her…” “As opposed to me or us?” I replied. “Mom…no offense it’s just…Grammy is more interesting. Now are we done here?”
Looking dejected for a few moments only made the kids happier until I finally declared our evening session finished; with a few caveats. 1) No headphones or ear buds could be used–ensuring they would be somewhat present with us and 2) they could only use the device to read a book. Both kids groaned but immediately flipped on their new best friends–those damned devices.
Looking at the hubby we both shrugged and did the same. What is this world coming to?