I hate my kids having electronic devices. I hated them so much that I couldn’t wait for them to get in trouble so I could take them away. Last Christmas, like so many other kids during that time of year, the level of their ungratefulness reached the point where I took their devices away as a punishment. Its now June and they are yet to get them back. Some of my older kids had some assignments that required a computer and I was more than willing to allow them to use their own.
I’m very happy to have a house where kids are electronic device (aside from TV) free. 99% of the time when they had them they watched utter garbage like toy reviews or some crap game that provided 0 educational elements I hear all the time, even from a few of their teachers, that I’m doing them a disservice by not allowing them more access to electronic devices. My answer to them? I don’t care. What I do care about is that my kids are raised and act the way my wife and I expect them to be and their use of electronic devices wasn’t allowing us to do so or be the children we expected to be.
I’d be lying if I said they had a lot of access to devices beforehand. If they did they had to ask permission and I expected them to just play things with substance. They could not take them to friends houses or out to dinner. If they went someone I give them a walkie-talkie. The problem was it was like setting them up for failure. Every single time they would play some app they downloaded that was in no way within the realm of what we allow. My oldest even snuck hers to school a few times and lied about how her teacher allowed it. Doing them a disservice? No. Giving it to them is doing them a disservice.
Yes, I could put on parental controls but you know what. I’m not that kind of parent. I’m authoritative. Do something or don’t do something because I said so. Sure ask why. But if you don’t like the answer then I don’t care. The only thing that should prevent you from doing the opposite of what I say is the pure fact I said it. I refuse to prevent my child from failure by creating fail-safes so I don’t have to parent my kids as much. Is it a lot more work to do it that way? Sure. But guess what’s easier. Not having any devices at all.
Do I judge other parents for allowing their kids devices? Sure. But it really depends on history. I’m not going to judge some parents I’ve never met who are letting their kid have a device they never looked up from while the family ate at a restaurant. I will, however, judge the shit out of the parent who has their child glued to a device when that child can’t function as expected without it in a social setting and the device is the parents only lazy cop-out solution for it. Sure there are kids that have social, mental, and neurological issues and using the device is part of therapy to alieve anxiety. But these kid’s parents are also using other things such as therapy, medication, and so on to help out. This isn’t about those parents. No. This is about the parents that are just too lazy to bother with actual parenting or engaging their children when in a difficult situation.
All in all screw technology. For the vast majority of us it does more harm than good at this point and the disconnect it gives us as adults are minuscule compared to what it does to kids. I haven’t read any studies about this and I never will. I don’t care if my kids are being done a disservice. My kids are awesome without it and for the average parent with an average kid, I will never believe any of your excuses as to why would be better with it.
Christopher is a full-time father of three awesome kids, a part-time asshole, a husband to the world’s greatest wife, a student, and lastly a writer. He has been featured on The Good Men Project.