My son could play Dinosaur Hunter without blinking for years, until one day he finds his long, white beard is covering the screen and realizes that he’s very hungry. Whereas, my daughter will probably need casts for her rapid-fire texting thumbs by the time she graduates. And we’re considering iphones? Even my husband comes home from working at a computer all day just to wait in line for one of their ipods. What’s the deal? I still like Pong and Mario, so I probably wouldn’t understand.
I suppose I shouldn’t cast stones since I spend my free time messing around with photos on the computer and watching wifi netflix late into the night (lately it’s XFiles.) I really can get the addictive nature of apps. But there’s a time and place for everything, and I’m afraid my family can easily lose perspective on exactly what and when that is.
Everyone falls into it easily enough, but too much of the ADD/game/phone/facebook/tv/music thing just makes me and the kids more cross with each other. My father -in -law once told me about a book called “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” I haven’t read it, but it was just ominous enough a title to get wedged in my sub-conscious. As I walk through the house and see various people I love hunched over their screens like in the images below, I hear it in my head: amusing ourselves to death. Let’s face it, it’s the perfect little anesthesia for keeping us from thinking outside of ourselves to the people around us, and what God has for us to do that day. It also keeps us from evaluating ourselves. I’m talking to myself here, too.
So, we have a few ground rules- like no electronics at the table, no texting during conversations, and a limit of 30 minutes of video games a day after homework, chores, and rooms are clean. There are also screen free days. Then, I try to lure the kids outside for a phone free walk, bike ride, or something done together without electronics- even if it’s just cooking supper . Things they would never choose to do, but will probably be grateful for later when their brains aren’t as fried and their attention spans aren’t completely shot.
But, this stuff is repeatedly challenged and really has to be enforced. Guess who gets to be the enforcer?
Sigh. Why must mothers be the voice of reason? The proverbial brake pedal to the rest of the family’s gas? Everyone knows that “Voice of Reason” is really just another way of saying “The Bad Guy.”