Ava Grace's Closet: Addicted to the Screen

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Addicted to the Screen

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We had a bit of a rough day yesterday.
The older kids were home from school and like always, Julian didn't know what to do with himself. Bored.
So...he played video games on his play station.
My husband and I were having our morning coffee and we could already hear him on the phone with someone.
He was speaking with a friend and playing on line. 
I likely should have asked him to get off but, I didn't. 
I had an entire house to clean + far too much laundry to take care of.

I am guilty of something.
The need for peace. For time to get things done.
I have come to learn that if I don't keep my little guy busy, he will drive his little sister crazy. 
This in turn drives me crazy.
And a crazy mama is no good for anyone.
So, in today's case, I let him play. 

After some time, I asked him to come up to do homework.
He did that in about 10 minutes flat.
It's only coloring mom.
He did a few other things and at some point returned to the basement. 
I'm not sure exactly how long he played but I do know it felt too long to me. 
I calmly went down.
I calmly unplugged the console. 
And then I calmly told him he would never see it again.
He was not so calm. 

We spent just under 5 weeks in Florida this summer with no video games + very minimal "screen time" in general.
And then, we came home to find that the neighbourhood boys were all playing. And not outside. 
At first, we set it to an hour a day but somewhere, at some point, we all lost sight of how much he was playing. Even Julian.
He will hide it. 
He will lie about it. 
He doesn't realize how long he has been playing and will vehemently deny being on for "that long".
This is when I knew it had to end. 
The year before last he lost computer + video game access for an entire year.
We mean business.
It just takes us a while to get it sometimes.
Today, I got it. 

My name is Susan and I'm addicted to my iphone. and coffee.
I play games. I tweet. I check out people's photos on instagram.
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I love it all.
Probably a bit too much.
My husband? He's addicted to his ipad. Although he's been getting better lately.
Sometimes for fun, I check his google search feed.
You can learn a lot about someone + their  thought process by doing this. 
Sons of Anarchy
what season is Sons of Anarchy on
Charlie Hunnam {sp?} 
british
does Charlie Hunnam have an accent 
 Isabella? She's addicted to not being able to leave her phone anywhere. God forbid she miss a phone call or a text. This too is new. 
She was the last kid in her entire 8th grade graduating class to get a phone.
And also the only one with a mother who managed a sales team for a telecommunications company.

We all have something.
So really, it's no surprise that Julian loves electronics.
And I still believe there is a time and place for them. 
After all, he does plan to be the next Steve Jobs.
But, until that time, I need to curb this thing. And get this kid outside.
Is it just me or do kids not go outside anymore??
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Late yesterday afternoon, I told Julian to call a friend and walk over to the park. 
He did. They did. 
They played for a good long while and then walked back to our house.
Wanting to go to the convenience store.
It made my heart happy. 
I mean, I spent my entire childhood walking back and forth to the convenience store. 
And eating far too much candy.

Little steps. 

Do you feel that there is an unhealthy amount of electronic usage going on in your home?
What, if anything, are you trying to do to change it? 
Help a mama out.

19 comments :

  1. yep, make the 8th grader leave the phone in the kitchen. someplace where you can see it. if she carries it with her all the time that means that she is taking and making calls with out you knowing. in my house that is a big no. we have a home phone and the kids friends can call them at home. i'm still a little old school about that.
    i don't tell people how they should raise their kids, but with all this tech stuff we loose control without even knowing it.
    i may not know what my kids are doing at all times but i sure try and find out. sometimes i'm not liked, but i'm the mom and thats okay with me. :)

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    1. I am so with you! I know many, many friends who don't have a clue what their children are doing on social media. Frightening.

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  2. You are not the only mom there, let me tell you. It's hard. They never play or watch for "that long." I remember my parents ordering me to go outside and locking the door behind me. I wasn't allowed to come back in until dinnertime. During school I have a rule, my kids are not to ask for cartoons or video games. On weekends, they must earn it. All summer I made a point of taking my kids outside every single day for at least two hours. Sometimes they hated it. Sometimes they complained they were bored and wanted to go back in. Oh well. Fresh air kept them healthy!

    XO,
    Steph

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    1. Thanks for this Steph! I agree. I found that while we were in Florida and "screen less", they begged to be outside. Good for the soul.

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  3. My husband said that growing up and even after he was grown up, he feels he was addicted to video games. When we got married and moved in together, he didn't have any video game equipment and we never bought any because he knows it's a weakness for him and it shouldn't take up so much of his life. Both of us have younger brothers who constantly play these online games...for that reason we're pretty sure we want to raise our future children without gaming systems in the house. Obviously, that doesn't mean never, because everyone has gaming systems these days, and they'll play games at other people's houses....I just don't want to make technology TOO easily accessible. For that reason also, my husband and I don't have smartphones (well, also because they're pricey!).

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    1. Wow! Good for you for having the will power to not give in to the craze. They are pricey! And I'm with your hubby, I was {somewhat} addicted to video games as a kid. Mind you, it was Pac Man + I had to leave the house to play! lol.

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  4. I currently have my sons phone locked with my passcode in my dresser, while his play station is packed in my trunk. Yup, I feel your pain. Its a daily battle to get them to unplug, and everyday we struggle as adults to do the same. I will continue to keep his electronics until he starts new habits. And the fight continues!

    xo

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    1. Oh friend, I am SO with you on this. Tough to not give in.

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  5. We do limit screen time around here. Though it might be easier for me right now because my kids are in a younger stage than your oldest two. But I find it all starts with me. I had to take FB off my phone because I was constantly checking it.

    A friend of mine does 'tickets' for her kids - they have to earn screen time. I'm thinking of implementing it here in my home.

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    1. That's brilliant! Let me know if you do...curious as to how it works out.

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  6. I am so very proud of you and your husband....kids need to be outside...get exercise...see the sun...go fishing...play basketball...ride a bike...etc....even though my girls are younger, they both have iPods...we limit it and watch it as close as we can, but we make sure we take them to the deer lease, fishing, swimming, playdates outside...it is crucial....our world and our kids are losing touch with being "a kid" and have become way too dependent on TV and electronics...stick to your guns!!

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    1. Amen sweet Shana. So, so true. And it is so easy to lose touch...I won't let it happen. Thanks for your support girl.

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  7. My name is Brian Jakovina, I'm Susans brother and I'm addicted to my iphone. and tennis.
    I play games. I tweet. I check out people's photos on instagram.I love it all.
    Probably a bit too much.
    My wife? She's addicted Las Vegas and all things las Vegas. Although he's been getting better lately.
    Sometimes for fun, I check to see if shes looking at anything else.
    You can learn a lot about someone + their thought process by doing this.
    The Venetian
    The Palazzo
    The Belaggio
    Wolfgang Puck
    My Vegas
    The strip, the slots, the food
    ....OMG, I'm just like my sister. Not a bad thing.

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    1. You? Addicted? Nahhhh.
      Instagram : jakovinapics {worth a peek!}

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  8. Dearest Susan,
    At times we all are abit guilty of this. Though I refuse to play any game on my iPhone nor on Facebook as I see that as time loss for WHAT?!
    Yesterday I ironed 12 shirts and today I drove 6 hours... At Whole Foods I checked my emails and stupid enough did start the new iOS upgrade while we were having lunch there. When asked for the password I didn't know it... I store passwords in a coded document on my PC. So that's maybe the best solution; I put it in my purse and still have not added the code. As great as those gadgets are, they are also robbers from a simpler and healthier life. Guess we all are addicted in a way because we can no longer exist without them. But we should minimize definitely. Oh, my foster daughter was so addicted to it too and I had to play a trick on her for taking the PC Mode to our bedroom... Silly me that I had not thought about that sooner. It worked; never mind the long face...
    I had to teach her also about the danger of those APPS on FB. It really IS scary. You should read: Top 10 Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Annoyances You Can Fix Right Now http://lifehacker.com/5966763/top-10-facebook-twitter-and-other-social-annoyances-you-can-fix-right-now
    Point 8 is a good one and I'm using myself.
    Hugs to you and all the best for keeping the healthy balance with some real FRESH AIR!
    Mariette

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  9. I hardly ever see children outside playing - I use to think it was because we have been staying at our country home these past few years. But my recent week-long trips to our home in the city - was shocking. When I first moved in to that house - there were still children playing outside almost 12 years later - NONE! - I know they exist ... you can see them walking to school and home - but that's it.
    You are so right technology has made it say easy to stay connected without leaving ones home ~ that we are losing the social interaction skills.
    I have to admit that I am so guilty of spending time behind my keyboard, - though i find that I am not so addicted to my phone (maybe it's that at times I find the print is too small too read on the screen) ..lol.. Good luck .. xo C. (HHL)

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  10. YES! i have tried everything! in general, my kids don't watch TV. it was never allowed on school days, so on weekends, they're really not that into it. but, my son IS addicted to watching you tube videos about legos and other toys. and my daughter? her phone. she, too, was one of the last kids to get a cell phone, and only this year, as a freshman, did i allow her to take it to school. maybe it's because we held out for so long that they don't grasp the concept of moderation, but i hate what they're becoming. my daughter can literally lie on her bed ALL DAY with the phone in her hand, earbuds in her ears. she has become very inactive, tries to sneak peeks at it when she's supposed to be doing homework, hides it under books and pillows, etc. i was just thinking about my "rules" this morning and how best to enforce them when i saw this post!

    but yes, kids don't know how to play outside anymore. they really don't even know how to just "talk" to each other!

    LOL, OMG, ROLF, WTH?

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  12. One suggestion: get a huge trampoline! Our whole family loves it (including Dad). It is so great to see my three boys and husband all doing something active together outdoors. They can't wait for their baby sister to grow big enough to join them. Best craigslist purchase EVER...and way more fun than anything electronic.

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I love reading every last one. Thanks so much for stopping by our little blog. xo.

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