Saturday, 16 January 2016

Leading by Example, An Experiment (Failed)

We've been troubled by The Teen's absorption in the wonders of the world wide web for a while now.

When she's not on her laptop playing Minecraft with like-minded devotees, she's watching people playing it on YouTube. When she's all Minecrafted out, she relaxes watching vloggers, vlogging or her favourite show, RWBY which is, of course, only available on YouTube. And when finally the laptop is put away, the iPod comes out so she can listen to music. With accompanying videos. On YouTube.

To The Teen this is a varied diet of activities and she is constantly astonished that we might think otherwise. But of course we do.

We worry about it, and we worry about her. We worried when we got a mobile phone bill for over £300, incurred by wilfully ignoring her data allowance. We worried about that quite a bit in fact. 

We worry that she spends 99.9% of her time, when she isn't at school, in her bedroom emerging only for meals and occasional sneering. We worry when we have to fish the iPod out of her bed and the earphones out of her head while she's sleeping.We worry that all and any steps we have taken to put boundaries on her screen time have over the past year both a) caused much huffing and puffing and stomping and b) abjectly failed.

And I worry that every time we have to have yet another 'chat' about her excessive screen usage, she argues that I'm on my own laptop or phone all the time too.

Ignoring the fact that she's barely out of her bedroom long enough to notice if and when I'm on the laptop and, pertinently, I need to be on the laptop because that's where my work is, she does have a point.

She's not right, but she's not wrong. I do spend a large amount of time on the laptop so for the past two months I have been trying to lead by example and have taken a step away from the internet and all the delights therein. 

The first casualty of course was this blog, I've not written a post since November, and though I've checked into Facebook now and again, posted the odd Instagram photo and tweeted every so often I have been practically monastic in my abstinence. Monastic, I tell you. I even turned my notifications off. 

Though I'm not sure that The Teen has even noticed to be honest. It's made absolutely no difference to her own behaviour at least. She's been as determined as ever to spend every waking minute (and some sleeping ones) plugged in.

I, on the other hand, have discovered:

1) Not being online all the time means you can actually watch the TV programmes you're normally too busy tweeting about

2) .... and frankly they're just not that exciting without an accompanying array of fellow tweeters to watch them with.

3) An addiction to Eastenders, again. After four years of not watching it at all. I blame Danny Dyer.

4) The Boy can speak for two solid hours about the habits and habitats of dinosaurs. No, I couldn't believe it either.

5) If you don't go on Facebook too often, people start to think you've died.

6) Even if there is absolutely nothing else to do, I'm still not going to do the ironing.

7) The nights can be very, very, very, very, very, VERY long.

It's been the longest two months of my life. So I've surrendered. I'm back. My notifications are back on and my abandoned profiles are being slowly resurrected.

Instead I've bought The Teen a digital alarm clock and she hands over her technology an hour before bed. And, while it hasn't seen a more rational approach to her daytime use, it does mean at least she sleeps at night without being permanently wired to the web.

Which is a start.

Of sorts.


Next week; I hide The Teen's laptop in the one place she'll never find it*
*The cleaning cupboard.

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