I’ve been increasingly frustrated with my daughters use of devices that run on electricity with a connection to the Internet. Her addiction to these devices is becoming quite concerning for me as I see her emulating my wife’s use of the same type of devices. A recent conversation with my wife over the weekend consisted of half spoken sentences with a blank stare on the device screen, long pause, me saying “lets speak in complete sentences please” with little change to the communication taking place. My daughter is unfortunately not as adept at pretending to multi-task as my wife and flat out ignores you except for the uttering of the word “What?”….. I’m starting to dislike that word quite a bit.
The dog ate my daughters iPhone 5C two weeks ago and I was excited to have it happen. She would learn a hard and valuable lesson in how to keep your things looking and working as expected by putting them away where they belong. The second was she would no longer have the ability to kill brain cells playing whatever game of the day she downloaded and installed. It was brief excitement on my part. My wife was ready to go out and purchase a brand new iPhone 6S, at full price, with a credit card of all things! NO! I made it clear that a new phone was the wrong decision and until the daughter could demonstrate some capacity of care with her things. As in my phone is in perfect condition despite not have a case or screen protector on it and being kept in my pocket most of the time. I was in a conundrum of a decision as I didn’t want to get her anything to replace the now broken 5C.
I relented to my wife’s insistence at getting her something to replace the dead device. “Fine, whatever” I said. She knew I wasn’t happy about it, but I very quickly told her to not buy anything, I would take care of it. Heading over to the Telecom Manager’s office, I started digging through the box of devices that were going out for recycling. I found a functional iPhone 4 with a horribly cracked glass back with pieces falling out. The screen was fine though, so I grabbed it and saved it from the inevitable shredding death it was in line for. Rolling past the receiving dock, I grabbed a measured piece of clear packing tape and stabilized the back glass. No more pieces coming off this thing! Throwing it on charge and hoping that the non-Apple charger would be recognized, it started to charge. Several hours later, I got to updating it from iOS 7.whatever to iOS 9.whatever, logging into her parent controlled account, and proceeded to download and install the massive list of applications she had listed.
My plan was to give it to her after some really good behavior based on the fact that she was so upset after the dog ate her last one. That unfortunately was not in the cards as my wife, upon asking to see it, immediately gave it to her. Nothing like not getting any support for well laid plans to have a behaving daughter for a few days teaching patience at the same time…. I walked away without saying anything as my daughter ran upstairs to her bedroom to start another iPhone induced coma under her covers. Just shook my head not getting it why my brand of discipline seems to always be at odds with my wife’s brand. Yes, she’s at home with her all day while I’m at work, however she is going to be 10 soon and honestly, if she doesn’t get what she wants, can handle it regardless of the scene she displays. When I was a kid and acted like she does, I got a smack and was sent to my non-electronic laden room. She on the other hand, gets a stern voice and ends up storming to her electronic heaven of a room, which is probably what she ultimately wanted anyway. Nothing like getting your way without having to ask for it.
The concern I have for the current generation is starting to hit frightening levels. Everywhere I can see younger and younger kids on devices they should never be exposed to at such an early age. I truly believe that the occurrence of ADHD and other disorders, especially in their numbers, is the cause of instant gratification always on electronics, applications, and television shows that wire their brains all whacked. Watch a cartoon with even mild action, and count how many times in 30 minutes the screen shifts to another view or flashes. If you’re less than 100 I’d be surprised or say you counted incorrectly. The last show I watched, some Jap-anime show, flashed or switched 314 times in just 22 minutes (watched on Hulu) or once every 4.2 seconds. Essentially it was visual queues paired with mind-numbing content that kept the developing brain amped for 22 minutes with bursts of stimulus every 4 seconds. I had trouble keeping up with the show honestly.
While I attempt to do my best with limiting electronic devices, the battle is futile the older she gets as her need to be independent grows. Now that its the summer and no school, she’s home all day with the temptation to stay in bed watching an iPhone without the ability to not give into it. Even as friends come over, her impulse is to watch Hulu or play on the iPhone and drag her friends along with her. Over the weekend I turned off the router (remotely) to force her to get outside and spend time in the land of the living. She protested at first, but I forced the issue saying that it would be boring to stay in the house as the router would NOT get turned back on until after dinner and it was dark. I’m working on a chore/rule list that will need to be followed daily if she is to get the WiFi password that I’m going to change daily each morning as part of my routine. It may seem extreme, but its for her own good that she won’t understand until she’s an adult and has kids of her own. I didn’t get it until I had kids and actually apologized to my Dad for the years of hell I put him through. That’s another subject for later.
Electronics are rotting our brains, its up to the parents that remember what it’s like to not have them to step up and do what is right. Limit the screen time.