"Do you want to eat now or later?"
"Ooohh kaaay...tacos sound good?"
"How about ice cream? Should we just have ice cream for dinner?"
"Kittens? Maybe I should fry up some cute, cuddly baby kittens and serve them with soy sauce. Or mustard. Mustard would be good."
|Also tasty with ketchup. (Photo credit)|
I go into the living room and all three kids are on the sofa, various tablets/computer/phones in hand, the light from the devices casting a sickly light on their zombie-like, expressionless faces.
"Hey, guys? Yoou whooo!"
They look at me, without a trace of recognition in their eyes.
So, I did the one thing I knew would make them hate me forever. Well, they would as soon as they could remember where they'd seen me before.
I took away the internet.
For a week.
This decision was met with a tiny amount of resistance.
|Like this. Times three. (Photo credit)|
I slept with my Kevlar vest on, but the next morning the kids were surprisingly...not mad. My oldest actually told me that he thought it was a good idea. Then I promptly locked him in the closet while I searched for the real Nick. And we stuck with it. Almost. 6 days is close enough.
We only had one slip up...about four days in, the boys got up earlier than usual, and since I like to sleep in, I made them take the puppy out and watch him, while my husband and I got a little more time. As long as I could hear them fighting with each other, I knew all was well. But then...it got really quiet. My husband called them...no answer. Got up and searched the usual rooms, nothing. He found them locked in the bathroom, with the dog and the tablet perched precariously on the toilet. Hey, when you need a hit, you need a hit.
|Minecraft addicts are looking at that picture, and mentally rearranging the pills to make trees and sheep. (Photo credit)|
While I didn't completely give it up, I did cut my computer use in half. My house has never been cleaner. I actually read a few real books. (The Dresden Files...fun reads, by the way.) The kids and I played games at night, and my daughter and I put a few puzzles together. Nick and I drew together, and Sam and I read all about dinosaurs. Over and over. And over. (I know now how to pronounce Quetzalcoatlas.) We don't have TV, but we bonded over reruns of "My Babysitter is a Vampire" on Netflix. We pretended to be zombies. We played Barbies. We tried to teach the dog tricks. Nick wrote a story. Attitudes improved.
I'm definitely implementing a stricter schedule when it comes to computer/tablet/whatever time. It was a worthwhile experiment, and we will do it again. But maybe only a few days at a time, and I'll give the kids more notice, so they have time to mourn properly.