So here we are, two thirds of the way through summer, and what have you done? Maybe the more important question to ask is, what have your children done this summer? There have been more beautiful days than I have been able to count thus far. Unfortunately for us working stiffs, most of us are unable to get out and enjoy them. But the children…what are they doing?
If they are like Chris and my teenaged boys, they may just be laying around the house watching Netflix or playing video games instead of playing outside. Let me share a little secret with you, our kids (all of them collectively- ours, yours, your neighbors, your nieces, nephews, etc.) are suffering. If you are a parent you know what I am talking about. Gone are the days when mom and dad go to work leaving the tweens and teens locked outdoors for eight hours or the younger ones in the care of an older adult who would then do the same. How many times when you were young did you hear “It’s a summer day, get outside and play?”. Neither Chris nor I had to be told twice. Once a mom or dad said the word, out the door we went.
Today, though, we as a whole are indulgent parents. Gone are the days when a stern look and warning were all it took to stop our ‘I’m bored’ attitudes. We are the generation of parents giving into every little demand and whine- admittedly or not- and these demands are serious even when we don’t realize it. How many of us know, really exactly know what our kids are doing on the internet? How many of us know what type of video game they are playing or YouTube video they just got done watching? And let’s not get started on social media- but don’t forget about it either!
Take a count of the devices in your household; now count how many of them your children have access to. From IPad’s and tablet PC’s to the ‘ole reliable desktop in the kitchen, or even the laptop Junior got for his birthday, internet enabled devices are running amok in US households. I am a big reader, so when surfing in my spare time I frequently read about how the internet age is affecting today’s youth, and what I have learned ladies and gentlemen, is not good.
Google this phrase ‘video game addiction in children’ and you will see what I mean. There are far too many links for me to add in here, so I’ll let you do some of the work, but I think you get the point.
I have some ideas for you, but you first have to be truly honest with yourself. If you think you have a problem in your home, and many of us do and don’t want to recognize it, Chris or one of the guys here can help you. We offer parental control packages. In fact we use our home as the test dummy for them and I am happy to say our boys hate us for it. I am happier to say that their online time, device accessibility time, content availability and screen time is completely controlled- by us. In fact if I check in on our sons from here at the shop and they aren’t doing what they need to, we can shut them down- from fifteen away.
That means two things:
1. We are not our sons’ best friends, but that’s okay, and
2. They have to get up and go outside and play on a beautiful summer day.
And yes they may whine and cry and complain, but we’ve been working for years on that stern look and warning sound. They know if they don’t listen, they will have zero accessibility tomorrow. One more thought- maybe just shutting everything off for the day and playing hooky from work to kick a ball around in the backyard with the kids may just be a good idea.
Hey, thanks for reading and feel free to send us your thoughts and commentary.