Turning off tech — or not — for kids’ summer


My attempts at screen time limitations have not gone well. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Turn off the cable then they discover long lost movies under their bed or realize the library’s rental selection is not too bad. After I hid the I-pod, they found games on my smart phone I didn’t know existed. It seems the media world has conspired against me. I have read and long believed that kids need to get bored- that is when creativity seeps in. So…I was hoping boredom might lure them into building, drawing, getting outside. Instead, they whine, maybe read a bit, pool resources to re-activate the Wii, which was also off (due to dead batteries). I am not anti-technology. I just think summer should be a time to lift your head up and get outside and be creative and active. What works best is finding other kids to play with, but most have such busy summer schedules that it is hard to find people to play with. And so, I am back to camps and arranging play dates and sucking it up while my offspring sloth about watching River Monsters and Annie for the 23rd time. I kick them out twice a day and they always return claiming ten minutes was an hour and that surely they should have another (perhaps the 7th?) popsicle.They are made of fruit, you know.

It might be hard to see that I love my children after reading this. The fact is, I am just not very good with them. I don’t want to play Pokemon and have zero interest in technology beyond reading my news and writing. I think back to my childhood and my limited choices on the farm. My parents did not worry about my social and creative life at all. Kid’s tv was on at 4:00 p.m. and perhaps there were a few family friendly shows on at 6:30. I read, wrote, did chores, went outside though I never was an outdoor girl, and rode my bike to town (3 miles to Cushing, 4 miles to Correctionville) or across the section on a dirt (not even gravel!) to meet a friend. Was this dreamy? I know I didn’t think so, but it was simple.

I feel like I must put on a shield every day ready to fight some sort of lurking evil seeking to chip away at the mental and physical health of my kids. I try to model though I am not the picture of perfection. But they know about fruits and veggies and they see me meeting friends for walks and know I return while they are sleeping after my early morning work-outs. Our house has more books than movies and at least three of us are incessant readers. So there is that.

This is me mentally tossing up my hands and hoping for the best for their futures….and mine.