“Our children will not have iPhones. I don’t care how uncool it is. They will absolutely not carry the internet in their pocket. Ever.”
I’m pretty flexible. I’m an obliger (take the test!) It would be my great horror to be viewed as a megalomaniac.
Sometimes I should care more, but I just don’t. Where to go to dinner? I don’t really care (as long as it’s not McDonald’s). The Professor wants to choose the color of the van interior? Have at it. You want some input on a new living room rug design? Either one is fine. I just don’t care. It feels inconsequential. It doesn’t matter. Yes, sometimes I should care more. For example, I’m prone to impatiently hacking my hair off every few months (I really shouldn’t.)
But there are other Amy Absolutes:
Thou shalt not have a DVD player in the car. Because children should be bored occasionally, daydream, and look out the window. Maybe even talk to me.
Thou shalt not do all the chores. Because a working family is a happy family! And the mother is not the slave of the family.
Thou shalt not speak rudely to mom and dad. Because honoring thy mother and thy father is a worthy endeavor.
Thou shalt not use my toothbrush. Or I will never speak to you again. The Professor has had to ask for forgiveness on multiple occasions.
Oh yes, these things do matter. Technology use is my hot-button. I can get more fired-up about technology rules than most political candidates. Kids and iPhones. No. Why in the world would I put that device in my child’s pocket when there is a world to explore? When technology addiction is rampant, when a child’s brain is so malleable and still forming?
No, we shall frolic and sing with our bonnets and aprons on at all times….
I’m sad and terrified when so many of our children do not know how to read a textbook and pull out cohesive “take-aways.” When The Classics are “boring.” When Google is so easy, that “hard” is avoided at all costs. When English courses have to cut out whole books, curriculum, and reading because our teens just don’t have the brain power to sit still, absorb, and ponder Anna Karenina. I liked this post.
And yeah, I blame technology for some of that. I read less because of my phone. It sits on my bedside table, putting me to sleep and waking me up. All the dings, alerts, and Twitter notifications that go off in our pockets, pulling us away from absorbing, focusing, and being “all in.” I see the effect in my classroom every.single.day. I fight that battle every.single.day.
Two years ago I wrote about my gollum-like fascination after finally getting an iPhone. It’s been life-changing. I can actually find your house now with that nifty GPS! I keep an on-line calendar, use reminders, check Instagram, comment on Facebook and blogs, schedule appointments – I LOVE my phone. I love it. I love it too much. Which is why I wanted to keep it out of the hands of my darlings as long as possible.
“My friends make fun of me everyday,” The Boy tells me. After revealing he had to ask permission to use technology at home, his friend literally rolled on the floor laughing. Now, every time he sees The Boy using his iPad at school he says, “Nelson, did you ask permission??!”
Come on now, are technology rules SO WRONG?
Last month when I assigned a homework assignment, it involved downloading the Adobe Voice app. Every single student whipped out their smart phone. I realized maybe my high school kids were right…they were the oddballs. But aren’t oddballs adorable?
My oldest darling, Cope, is a junior in high school. She has a flip phone, which is “absolutely mortifying.” The Boy, a freshman, flat out refused. He would rather not have a phone than to be seen with something “so lame.” Which sounds terribly materialistic, but there are a few things in a boy’s life that really matter (girls, meat, shoes…and phones?)
Let us back track to last week when The Professor said, “I think we should get you a new phone for Mother’s Day.” My contract was up, you see, and I’d been drooling over the new and improved camera feature. I didn’t object to The Professor’s wishes 🙂
Yesterday, we giddily (read: me) visited a Verizon store (where the customer service is out of this world, awesome) and discovered that not only could I get a new phone, but we could upgrade to a better plan (text me! I now have unlimited texting!!!!) and also transfer my daughter’s phone number to my older iPhone and pay LESS than what we were paying for her flip phone.
What’s a mom to do?
We took the deal.
Yep, I sold my child’s imagination for a few silver coins. The world is ending.
I had a moment. “Wait, wait, wait! I only want her to be able to take photos, text and call – THAT’S IT!” It turns out we can control the cellular data (for $5/month!) but if she has wi-fi? Well, it’s free reign.
I felt ashamedly resigned. I rationalized like this: she’s a good girl. she has a good imagination. she still loves to read. and sing. and yeah, she’s a bit addicted to youtube videos but mostly if they involve Lin-Manuel or cheesy BYU studio C outtakes. Also, I know that technology, used the right way, is AWESOME. We can change the world right from home!
At least, as far as I know. Maybe I don’t know. Maybe they’re all tech addicts at 3a.m. If you know of such behavior, you better tell me.
We held out for almost 17 years. Maybe it was time to extend the leash a little further. In a few short years, mom isn’t going to be around to set the parameters (I weep.)
The best part was having our stellar Verizon gal, Kelly, transfer Cope’s old number and plan to my older iPhone, knowing her flip phone would suddenly stop working. She was going to freak out. When Cope came home from school I showed her my new phone, which she drooled over, as I casually asked, “I called you today – why didn’t you call me back?”
“Something is wrong with my phone.”
“You must have dropped it.”
“No, mom, I swear. I didn’t drop it!”
“How sad,” I said. She sighed.
At this point I very slowly took out my old iPhone. Before I could say anything she screamed. And started hopping up and down. It was rather wonderful.
After having yet another technology discussion (I like to be thorough 🙂 ) she reached out her hands, snatched the iPhone, and whispered, “Precious.”
Heaven help us all.
Alas, it’s not all roses around here. The Boy has taken this injustice very personally. We obviously have favorite children.
“Mom,” he says, following me around. “You’ve got to let me have Snapchat now – you gave Cope an iPhone!”
That, my friends, is the latest battle. What say ye? Do tell.