So here we go. The biggest bone of contention in my life. Electronic devices. In writing this I feel I am jumping blindfold off a very high cliff into Arctic waters patrolled by polar bears starving due to lack of sea ice….shiver.
I am not in favour of personal devices for my children. I am a late adopter technology wise myself. In fact I still have a phone that I merely use to, well, phone people – well actually I text people as nowadays actually speaking to people is a little passe- but you get my drift.
My children are, according to them, massively under deviced… I am, apparently, the devil incarnate for not ensuring they have the most up to date technology.
Eldest had an I pod touch for his 10th birthday. The others had nothing. Well they had that Wii I mentioned last time. But that is a social affair. And not all that portable.
We had a rule that he could not use the I pod before school or before all his jobs and homework were complete. He couldn’t take it to school as they are banned there. And so during quite a lot of weeks the device sat neglected on top of the bread bin for the whole time. Only being dusted off on Saturdays. And this was fine with me. In case you are wondering the bread bin is my position of choice for ‘confiscated’ items…I think it is something to do with them not being able to reach it when they were three, that no longer applies but psychologically it still works.
Then I had to deliver on my promise of getting him a phone for his start at Senior school where such devices are allowed within parameters. Apparently he would be unable to survive without one. Obviously I did. In fact I survived with 10 pence in my pocket and, in extremis, the school receptionist . And, yes, occasionally it was difficult and I did need to face the wrath of that dragon in the school office but generally all was fine. Maybe schools changed their plans less because they couldn’t really change their plans without ending up with a crisis. They could not arbitrarily decide to cancel clubs, arrange impromptu after school meetings for students, decide that all Year 7 boys should leave school from a different building on one random Tuesday. Etc. So they didn’t.
So I accepted that Eldest needed a phone, to avoid being a stranded. And because Eldest had a ‘new’ phone (actually an old handset of husband’s with a new SIM) Middlest got the I pod touch. Which then gave Youngest licence to commandeer my I pad or the ancient first generation DS, on which, one Christmas, I frightened myself determining my actual brain age and then failing to improve it much. Because Eldest could take the phone to school it came off the bread bin. And before I knew it all three were on devices before school, after school, whilst brushing their teeth, in bed, whilst watching TV etc.
I let it ride. Partly because to re-instate the ‘no device’ rules would require energy and commitment that I currently do not possess. For some reason this time of year makes me lethargic. The recent weather has made it worse. And so I am not even keeping up with this blog never mind tackling difficult and contentious child related issues.
The other reason I let it ride was that, aside from being constantly ignored, it made the mornings quieter. Bad mummy moment…
And then someone linked on Facebook to an article about how over use of electronics is ruining children’s mental health. And physical health. And emotional health. I sort of knew this. But reading the article brought it all home to me. The behaviours that the author said may improve with a reduction (or indeed a total ban) on electronic exposure were ones I recognised in all of them – even the eight year old.
So I sat down and had the conversation. It was a mistake to tell them I had read an article. They hate it when I read articles. Last time I read an article I took all the sugar I could out of their diet and Middlest still has natural yogurt flashbacks…
Anyhow I got round that blunder and managed to get them to agree to the morning ban. The after school ban unless jobs etc are done. And a bedroom charging- up- leading – to- early- morning- play ban.
Already things have calmed down. Eldest has slept better for the last two nights than ‘for ages’. And he has started de-cluttering his bedroom ready for the make over he wants to do in there. Middlest admitted that he does not miss being awoken by Crashy Road free gift notifications in the middle of the night (!). And Youngest has got the loom bands out.
So we will be continuing with the ban. My mornings will be more frantic. I will get pestered more. But I think it is worth it. Especially as they can all now hear me when I call up the stairs. Amazing that eh?