How the dreaded road trip conversation typically goes:
Layla: Mommy, are we almost there?
Me: (With steam about to blow from my ears.) No, we are not. Stop asking.
Layla: How much longer?
Me: (Lying through my teeth.) Ten minutes.
How the dreaded road trip conversation went last weekend:
Layla: Mommy, are we almost there?
Me: (With steam about to blow from my ears.) No, we are not.
Layla: Yippee! How much longer?
Me: (Telling the truth.) Forty-five minutes.
Layla: Awesome! Ellie, that means we have time to make it to the next level of this game!
And that, my friends, is the beauty of electronics.
My daughter and my niece were thrilled that our road trip was taking so long because they had electronic devices to play.
Lots of them.
We had iPhones and iPads. Theirs, mine and everyone’s in between. Hell, I would have given them a desktop computer with an extension cord hanging out of the car if that’s what peace and quiet required.
Just imagine how long the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question has plagued and annoyed parents? Probably since before cars were even invented.
And, someone finally found a way to stop it. Two points for technology.
I’m so exhausted by the fear factor-laced news coverage about what screen time is doing to our children. I’m pretty sure we have enough things to worry about these days (both inside and outside our homes). As a mother, I refuse to add electronic devices to that list.
#1 Let’s give it some time.
The iPad was only invented four years ago. How can we possibly understand the long-term effects of such technology? Who knows: maybe our children are going to be phenomenal programmers and engineers because they’re learning to build houses, make birds fly and crush candy at age four.
#2 Let’s look at what we did growing up.
I recently read an article that said too much scree ntime can have “serious and often life-threatening consequences.”
When I was a little girl, I rode in the back of a Chevrolet without a seatbelt while my mother smoked Marlboro Reds. And I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches stuffed with Doritos for lunch—seven days a week. Back then, no one wrote about or debated the “life-threatening” consequences of my mother’s every move.
She was an excellent mother. And I turned out just fine.
#3 Let’s look at the benefits of screen time for parents.
When it comes to technology usage, why isn’t anyone talking about what’s detrimental to us? If we didn’t have digital devices in the car last weekend I might have unleashed a new level of road rage on my daughter and her cousin. Talk about detrimental.
For the record, my children having screen time allows me to do amazing things.
- I can blow dry my hair and leave the house looking like a normal human being.
- I can commit to a three-hour car trip to attend a baby shower for my cousin.
- I can take a nap and trust that my kids aren’t going to burn down the house.
I think technology is amazing. It benefits me and my family in wonderful ways and I refuse to add it to the laundry list of things I’m told I should worry about these days.
As I drove down the highway this weekend listening to my first-grade daughter and her fourth-grade cousin (with whom Layla might otherwise not have a lot in common) laughing and playing and clamoring to get to the next level of Candy Crush, I freed myself from the pressure.
It works for me. It works for us. And that’s the only thing I’m worried about.
And then I drove off into the sunset with an additional 45 minutes of peace and quiet, which felt a whole lot like peace on earth.