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The i Generation

I’m waiting for my kids to finish up an extremely important video game. If they don’t, apparently it will be catastrophic. Everything they have worked so hard for will be destroyed – the levels completed, the points accrued, the hours spent ignoring me. It will all be for naught.

I wish I saw this same level of commitment when it came to putting their clothes away, finishing up  homework, reading a book or just generally focusing one tenth of their attention to the words coming out of my mouth as they do to the zombies trying to eat them or the football players running on electronic fields of green.

Gone are the days of carefree casual communication. When my boys walk in from school, they drop their backpacks and head straight for their devices like homing pigeons drawn by some unconscious motivator. I try to intervene with small talk – Hey, how was your day? Anyone want a snack? What happened in such and such class? – and general fussing about but they swat me away with nods and non-communicative grunts.

I consider ripping devices from their little paws and demanding attention, have in fact done it many times but now I’m trained and generally sigh and shuffle off and wait till they’ve had their fix. I’ve seen addiction and they’ve just gone through 8 hours of withdrawal. It seems cruel not to give them 15 minutes.

These days it seems children and teens and their devices go hand in hand. Where they go, it goes and communication goes out the window. I can’t even say it’s just about the younger generation. We middle-aged folk are similarly attached, yet we were around before microwaves, ATM’s and computers and we still know how to use a pot, get money from a teller and write freehand. We hold our books to our hearts but lug Kindles in our bags. We still have CD’s and even cassettes stored away, if nowhere else but in our brains. So yes, we are attached to our technology but we know how to live without them, because we have.

But the kids have not.

The iGeneration is all about technology, and communication without personal contact. I’d like to blame them for my oldest son’s questionable social skills but I can’t. He’s as naturally shy as my other son is naturally social and my youngest is somewhere in between.  It has nothing to do with the technology.

And so it goes. Every morning, sleep still on the brain, coffee in hand, my oldest gets into the car and we head off to school. I immediately pepper him with questions about his day while he answers only to the device in hand.

I sigh, turn on some music, sip my coffee and shake my head as I bob along to the new CBS FM, no more golden oldies, just recent oldies for getting oldies like me. I pull to the curb and he shoves his phone away. “Bye Mama,” He says, and before he gets out allows me to push the hair away from his eyes then flashes me a gorgeous heart stopping grin.

All is not lost.

 

Alisa Pnone through dec 31, 2012 046

So yeah, there’s this…

 

But there's this too

But there’s also this…

 

Let The iBeatings Begin!

I want to beat my children. Wait, did I say that out loud? Please don’t call child services. I don’t really want to beat them in the literal way, just figuratively. Figuratively, I want to beat them silly.

Why? I don’t know. Maybe because they’re spoiled and deserve a good figurative beating. Because maybe, I’m tired of the word, “Wait” when I’m asking something like, “Do you want vanilla or chocolate?” and their video game can’t be interrupted; or maybe because they remember they need special molding clay at 9pm for a diorama due the next day. Or because I make three different dinners for them to say, “I’m not hungry” but five minutes after everything has been cleared away, find them attached to my waist, devastated by hunger. Because I sit and help patiently with homework only to be told that “It’s fine” with an eye roll of disdain, even when it’s not, and they haven’t figured out yet that they should say bless you when I sneeze, or offer to help when I’m schlepping in 12 grocery bags instead of throwing their knapsack on top of the bags. That’s why. I could go on, if you need more.

But it’s no longer the 70’s when beatings were just as acceptable as lack of supervision and random light drug use. When I tell my children I’m going to beat them – an entertaining threat that I somehow picked up watching the hysterical skit from Bill Cosby Himself – they roll their eyes. “Oh funny, mom.”   Yeah, I have them quaking in their furry crocs.

Ooops.

Ooops.

I need something to show them that I mean business. I probably would get more of a response if I threatened to beat their devices.

That’s it! They would cower in fear. I would have them at my mercy. I can hear them now…

“NO! My iPhone hasn’t done anything wrong. Please, beat me! Just leave it alone.”

“But, it’s taken me so long to get to that level!”

“Not my contacts!”

“Take the DS! Or the Wii. Just leave the X-Boxxxxxxx!”

phone death 3

Gee, what’s that doing there? Mwahahaha

Or, maybe we could create a new app – iMomfia where I control all the apps on my kids’ devices. If one of the children doesn’t behave, I could make one of their apps just disappear. They’ll never know which one.

I would hold their complete submission in my hands. I would have them doing their homework, putting their dishes in the sink, taking showers without hassle. It’s genius. Or blackmail. Same, same.

Somehow technology has become the only effective method of bribery in my house. For the past few years I’ve used it as a carrot, dangling before them. “Do well in school this year and I’ll get you an iTouch… Show me how helpful you can be around the house and maybe you’ll earn yourself an iTunes card…”  So, I guess it’s partly my fault that it’s become the most important thing to them, but I prefer to blame society.

Yes! It’s society’s fault that I own them in the first place, and now just to get my children’s attention, I may have to beat a device worth hundreds of dollars.

Ouch.

This is gonna hurt.

phone death

*No children or devices were harmed in the making of this totally humorous post.