Thursday, November 8, 2012

Electronic Devices-I've Got The Power

Last week we celebrated my son's 11th birthday.  All he wanted for his birthday was something electronic--a phone, an iPod touch, an iPad, a Kindle, etc.  

It all seems like too much.  Too much money, too much responsibility, too much freedom, too much entitlement, too much YouTube availability.  

It feels like the first step in letting go.  Letting go of the little control I have left in his tween almost teen life.

I know you might be rolling your eyes, like give me a break lady every kid has an iPod Touch you're over thinking it.  And you might be right.  But that's what I do.

My husband and I made Peyton write a report on what electronic device he wanted and why he wanted it.  "Do some research on the computer or iPad we already let you use," I suggested highlighting that he already had ample access to family technology.  "Or better yet, poll your friends and find out what they have and what they like."

He nodded, grunted and left the room.  I thought maybe he wouldn't write the report, so my dilemma, my whole what does this mean drama would be over.  But that kid worked on his report for two weeks almost every night after he finished his homework.

Watching him type away, I leaned over to my husband and said "You know we have to get him something don't you?"

He presented his report in front of the family after dinner on the night before his birthday.  We all applauded and had an open Q&A which he handled very well.  When he was finished, we told him we'd have his answer in the morning.  Making him wait longer was unnecessary but fun.

Peyton was thrilled when we told him the Kindle Fire would be arriving in the mail the next day.  And he could hardly contain himself when it actually did arrive.

 This is Peyton hardly containing himself.

Since tearing open the box, the Kindle Fire has barely left his hands, which was one of my fears.  I hate the idea of every one of us (me included) lost in our own electronic device not paying attention to the world or each other.

But that's the part of the whole story that I didn't get until now, I still have some control, limits, boundaries, what have you.  To quote a late 90s pop song, "I've got the power, woah-oh-oh-oh..."  We (Peyton, his dad and I) are in the process of contract negotiations.  We're working out an appropriate electronic device usage agreement---daily time limits on Internet and games for example.  He is understanding that with electronic device ownership comes great responsibility, or at least starting to understand.

Even though all you eye rollers thought I was over thinking this a bit, I'm glad I did.  Because this really is the first step in letting go.  Letting go of the little control I have left in his tween almost teen life.  And these early steps are pretty important because I'm teaching him control.  These are the years I can help him start practicing all these mega-important lessons like self-control, respect, responsibility and a million more.

These are the years that I can begin teaching those lessons and he'll still wear a goofy homemade hat his little sister and brother made for him for his birthday.  Tweens are actually pretty cool.
Sure he may not be thrilled, but he still wears the hat like a good big brother.
How does your family handle all these electronic device issues?  And, um, do you have any kind of contract I can copy?  

And yes, I had to put up this video from the lyrical Jesse James. Snap-I've Got The Power


  1. 11 is such a cute age. I'm a teacher and it's my favorite grade to teach. Enjoy it because they are still more kid than teen (even though it might not feel that way to you because he is your oldest).

  2. Noah (11) got his Kindle Fire just before he went on vacation with us in August...and I remember going up to bedroom at 2am and seeing the glow coming from under the sheets..walked over, pulled back the covers and said, it is time to turn off the kindle and get some sleep...Honestly, one of those, dang, I am getting super old kind of moments (of course, I probably went back into my room, picked up my iphone and starting wasting time reading something some blogger wrote!)

  3. i think the report-writing is genius, and really makes his appreciate it more, i'll bet. if nothing else, he has some visibility to the price/investment and the responsibility. keep us posted on what you come up with for usage! :)

  4. You're such good parents. You obviously care so much how your children grow up and what they learn while they do it, but you never seem to stifle their fun or enjoyment of life. Our kids are younger (the oldest is 7 now) and they all love to play on our tablets/phones. We are working through it as we go along, so far.

  5. I love that you made him write a report (and that he did it!). I totally get what you're saying. My oldest just turned 5 but even at 5 all of her friends are playing with phones, tablets, and using all kinds of electronics. Some days I feel like I have her in the dark too much but I really just don't think she *needs* all that stuff yet. I just want her to be little longer.

  6. I pretty much knew about the majority of of this, but having said that, I still found it helpful. Nice work!
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