Laptop in the Living Room?

Imagine: you just found out your kid is being cyberbullied. You want to take away their mobile phone and laptop, but you know that’s a hiding to nowhere. So you give them the ‘talk’ about sticks and stones. But you find out they are up at 11pm and 2am checking their messages and refreshing their profile pages. What to do?

Well first, stop doing this:

I’m just picking on this poor guy. (Flickr: ExaltHim)

In the good old days, when you got home from work, your partner was waiting with slippers and a pipe for you (yes, for them mothers too!) and the kids looked adorable in pajamas with winnie the pooh on them. You had the whole evening to put the day behind you, focus on family values, have dinner, and veg in front of the TV (never a wholly bad thing). Now of course, the *bing* of you’ve got email tempts you. You boot up your PC ‘just to check something‘ and the precious time is gone.

What hope has this generation got of finding work/life balance when their role models are engrossed before shining altars of glowing screens?

Set aside a time, everyone goes online, does what they have to do (homework, email, phaffing around on YouTube), then turn the PCs off together. Get a movie, go for a walk, read to each other. Nothing looks so bad, even nasty emails and posts, after the loving attention of the family.

Or they’ll end up like this.

Oh who am I kidding? We’re a sneeze away from an always on, always streaming, ambient, world. While a small proportion of the population will control their families content consumption (just as they do now, with “no TV” rules and whatnot), the majority of kids will be always on, always connected and oblivious to another way of living.

I guess they’ll find their own way of living with that stress. As will we. As will we.

*picks up cords and mousemats from the coffee table in the living room*

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  1. I’m always most distressed when I look up from my laptop to see my wild bunch (3 kids in blended bliss) quietly engrossed, all on their own laptops, as is my partner. Happily humming along together. I find it repellent and oddly warming. I know it can’t be right.

  2. just for interest sake.. the tibetan version of sticks and stones goes like this: “sticks and stones may break your bones, but harsh words can rip a man’s heart to pieces”

  3. Spot on Laurel. We were just talking about the houses that my daughter aged 9 going on 12 visits. Not many books, but lots of wide screen TV’s, Wii’s, Play Stations, DVD’s, Computers…..

    We work hard to challenge this kind of stuff. Your post makes me more motivated.

  4. I must admit the bottom photo looks like me at my place. I’m frequently checking email and Twitter on my iPhone before I’m fully awake in the morning, also often dropping off to awake later cradling my phone like a baby…

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