I’m constantly amazed how kids are molded by their environments. This week, my 8 year old daughter had her iPad taken away because she ran up $700 in “in app” purchases, charged to her Mom’s credit card. Now, apart from the obvious retort of “why weren’t the purchase restrictions activated?” It illustrated some interesting facets of childhood in 2013 for me.
I like to think of myself as a somewhat cool and groovy dad. I know technology. I’m a professional skateboarder and run my own skateboard company. I’m not an accountant, doctor, architect, counselor or any of those professions that have an inherent air of stuffiness about them (although I do know many people with those occupations who are way less than stuffy). I’ve even had my share of video game addictions and understand all too well the lure of the demon screen. I can relate to the kids, man.
It was a big old blow to the forehead then when I realized my little bundle of genes has an iPad addiction. She is withdrawn without it. She finds minecraft parody songs on YouTube and learns them. She gets jittery without a screen in her hand. I take at least half of the responsibility for this, but only half.
This latest transgression landed her a week without iPad privileges and she was due a 7 day stretch at my house so I was more than a little worried about how this would go. So imagine my surprise when this morning she found the girl next door, and they spent three hours happily fishing for minnows in the stream by my house. I have t seen her that happy in quite some time. No screens involved/. For a few hours I had the extraordinary experience of pottering about in the autumn sunshine happily emptying boxes and putting stuff away while being as to hear the girls having good old natural mud between the toes fun catching minnows.
Not to be a sentimental old hector, but I had to smile – a lot. It revived some of my increasingly cynical outlook on kids and the future. Give ’em a stream, a net, an old branston pickle jar and a friend on a gorgeous sunny day and you really can’t help thinking “yeah – they’re going to be a all right”. It’s moments like those I was hoping for when I decided to make this move. Yay me!