Parenting Like It’s 1986: Taking Technology Back
Blair McMillan and his girlfriend, Morgan, dared to do the unthinkable in a generation like ours. They decided to rid themselves, as well as their two young sons (ages 5 and 2), of all technology that was younger than themselves – 27 years-old. They’re spending a year in the world of cassette tapes and land line telephones to try to reconnect with their young children and each other. Let’s be real, here. If the average family that consisted of teenaged kids tried to put into family law what the McMillans did in their family of four, there would be mutiny at the communal level.
Now, before I offer my two cents’ worth on this issue, as one who is attached so much to his slick new phone that he is constantly checking his phone for texts from friends that he doesn’t have, I’m going to step back and say, “You know what? That doesn’t sound like a bad idea.” Granted, I’m not sure why Monty Python and the Holy Grail on VHS would be any less addicting than its brother on DVD, but that’s not the point.
Whenever I take the four-hour drive to my parents’ place, my brothers, upon my arrival, always ask me if I have any new games on my phone that they can play. Without fail, their response to my informing them that I downloaded a new crossword puzzle app is always the same—they roll their eyes, letting me know how stupid crossword puzzles are and go back to the 90+ games that they have at their disposal on my dad’s tablet.
Therein lies the problem. My younger brothers have become bored of the fad that is my dad’s tablet. My brothers very well could have downloaded whatever game they wanted, but they weren’t drawn to that. They were drawn to my slick new phone because it was the newest fad.
So if kids like fads, have you ever considered introducing them to a fad of your choosing? Now, don’t take that as an invitation to become tyrannical. Just suggest some things that you feel would be more beneficial to your kids’ well-being, as well as being less likely to turn their brains into chowder. As much as I like chowder, it has no place in your kids’ skulls.
For example, what is the newest fad in books? (I honestly have no idea because I am picking up Harry Potter for the first time.) Get your kids hooked on books. And, hey! You could get them the coolest new e-reader if they’re still warped from technology.
This next suggestion will definitely be met with skepticism. But I can testify that this became a fad for some of my friends (despite mentioning earlier that I am bereft of friends. I digress.) I can count on two hands the amount of friends that I have that love knitting. (Insert terrible pun about being close-knit friends.) Whether or not this can be seen as fortunate, I never jumped on that bandwagon—my anxiety wouldn’t allow me to knit. But, I’ve had some friends make some really nice GPS and camera cases for me.
Be creative with things that you can get your kids hooked on. If you can get ten-plus 24 year olds hooked on knitting, you’re bound to find something that interests each of your kids that doesn’t necessarily need to have its battery recharged every day.
What is your take? Is the McMillan family on to something? Have you ever avoided a technological update?