My Love/Hate Relationship with Electronic Devices

I have decided that I have a love/hate relationship with electronics…..especially actually when it comes to my kids.

Up until recently, my kids have not been video-game junkies. They have had Leap Frog game consoles, then we got a Wii, then Nintendo DS.  The Leap Frog and the DS were primarily used for car rides and restaurant trips.  Isn’t it nice to go out to dinner and have the waitress say “What well behaved children you have!”…..only to secretly thank the Japanese for their technology. At home, they have always had a nice mix of TV, books, games, creative play (LEGO, manhunt, pirates, etc), sports.  And some “gaming” thrown in too.  I was never worried or concerned about over-excessive thumb use.

Until recently.

This past Christmas, Santa was so kind to bring each of the big boys an iPod Touch each.

And it has been non-stop thumb work-outs. I’ve tried to set limits.  One hour per day.

They would wake up and play, and then I’d say “OK, one hour is up”… would complain that he only played for 1/2 hour (because he woke up later), so I would have to keep track of another 30 minutes. And then they’d go to school, do their homework, and whip out their iPods and start playing again, and get away with it, because I’m busy making dinner….they are quiet….and I forgot about the mornings One-Hour Rule.

And then I would have Little Guy complain “But I didn’t play for an hour!!”…..and sometimes he is allowed to play his bro’s IPT (as it is referred to at our house)…..but sorry, Little Guy…..I consider standing over your bro’s shoulder and staring at the video screen for two hours pretty much the same as actually playing.

And now summer vaca has rolled around.  The first three weeks of their vacation has been pretty tiring (IMO….perhaps it’s just Mommy-Guilt). First week was basketball camp in 90 deg temps, 2nd week was non-stop 5 hrs of flag football camp, and last week was full day (8:30am-4:30pm) YMCA camp.  On top of that, they had soccer team tryouts, Wed. night Summer Basketball, two nights of fireworks, parties with friends.  Seeing how tired my 3 fellas were, I thought being a couch-butt wouldn’t be a bad thing. I  allowed them to play their electronic devices (the DS’s came back into action too….as well as their computer MINECRAFT game). And then I noticed….from 6am til bedtime (while not in camp) all 3 kidlets were on an electronic device.

But then, I realized that it’s summer.  Being stuck inside should be a winter thing.  I asked, requested, cajoled, instructed, and then finally DEMANDED they go outside.  It was as if I was asking them to enter Hades. And the temps aren’t scorching like they are in the rest of the country.  Mid 80’s at best. They would go out for 10 minutes, and come back inside for more thumb workouts. I hope this isn’t the redefined “summer vacation.”  Where are my creative, energetic kids?

Yesterday, we thought it might be a nice day to take the boat out—Hubby’s foot has been doing much better—we gave the kids a choice —go boating or spend the day playing video games (this was a test from Hubby).  T-Man answered….”Dad, we could have the best of both worlds–play video games for the 2 hr car ride up and 2 hr car ride back, and be in the boat during the day.” M-Man (my outdoors guy) ACTUALLY said he rather stay home because he can’t get wi-fi in the car!  The look of disappointment on Hubby’s face was indescribable.

So I have taken away all electronic devices for the entire week.

The car ride up to the lake? One hour of playing car games as a FAMILY, and one hour of reading.  One the way home–one hour of talking about what a great day we had, and one hour of reading/talking/playing. Absolutely fabulous.

This week’s VBS camp is only half-day, 9am-12pm.  Plenty of time to enjoy the fabulous 80 deg, sunny weather we will have this week OUTSIDE PLAYING.

Right now, as I type this….on my electronic device….I can hear the TV on in the other room…but I also hear them creatively role-playing. It is awesome.

I think we’re going to have a great week around here. And in the mean-time, I think the VP is going to have to re-work the Electonic Device Policy.