I know it’s not very lady-like, but sometimes I burp.
It probably wasn’t the best time to let go of one of those big bellywonkers, but it happened right as I walked into my daughter’s room.
Me: “Braack…whatcha doing?”
A: “My homework…and, say hi to Zoe.”
Me: (recoiling in shame) “When did Zoe get here?”
A: “She’s on my FaceTime, Mom.”
Me: “Oh, hi. Uhem…excuse me.”
Oh FaceTime…I have a love-hate relationship with you!
On one hand I am thankful for this technology—it helps me stay in contact with friends and family on the other side of the world. I can celebrate birthdays in Hong Kong and get recipes from my sister in Germany all from the comfort of my living room. My world is small. My family is close.
And then there’s times like those above when I do not like sharing my house with people who are not physically there.
Remember the time when we’d have to get homework help from our friend at the other end of our rotary-dial phone where the cord was attached to the wall? We had to hide under the basement stairs in order to get any privacy from our little brother. Now, if you don’t have WiFi, you’re just odd or old.
So, how does a parent respond to this rapid change and our obsession with technology?
Here’s a few things that we’ve set in place in our family:
- We’ve set limits on the amount of time our kids can spend on screens. We have one day set aside as “screen-free” and it must be adhered to by all members of the family. If you really MUST watch that gold-medal hockey game on Sunday, you have to ask permission from the rest of the family and plead your case.
- All techno gadgets are to be on the kitchen counter or in their charger by 8:30 pm. Period.
- We know all of your passwords and will check your device at any time for emails, texts, photos and Instagram posts that are questionable.
- Having technology is a privilege and not a right.
- I will not give your friends our WiFi password.
These rules have not made us the most popular parents. But, what is right is not always popular. I am my kids’ parent, not their best friend. I take this responsibility very seriously. It is my job to protect them.
But, how can we protect our kids without completely cutting them off? I think that’s the biggest question of all. You might say it even goes with the calling to be “in the world but not of the world.” By the grace of God, we hope to provide a home environment that views technology as one way to communicate and not the only way.
From now on, you can be sure that I’ll be asking if she’s FaceTime-ing before I burst into her room.