I’m not one to really go in for this. At some point in life you just start to think ‘am I really buying a sweater for someone?’ Why am I buying a sweater? Do they need it, want it? Probably not. If they really want something or my imagination can clasp onto something that I know they’ll go ‘yeah, thank you!’ then I’m all for it. But to buy another tie, well, I think my tie buying days are over.
Which brings me to this Black Friday. I have an early teen. And we have a no smart phone rule until 8th grade. We’re coming up on that and we’re going to reward early. But it’s no easy step. Let me clarify, we’re not anti technology. We run an IT consulting firm. My youngest can code (fluently) in 8 languages. My older has a YouTube channel with some hysterical animations that they are now using Animate to create them beside which the teen is also pretty fluent in quite a few of the other Adobe apps. The mantra in our house is be a creator not a consumer. And I’m sure if they hear that one more time from me they might just attack.
But back to the smart phone. It’s happening. And it’s scary. Most of their friends get these things in 4th grade, some earlier. I’ve always thought ‘what are these people thinking’ because on top of the phones the parents also usually allow for some sort of social media. From what I can see most adults can’t handle social media. And true to form several really good kids have made some really dumb decisions. Decisions that are going to follow them for a long time if not forever. There have been some irate, enraged parents which I find strangely sad and ironic. Because I get it, we’re all just trying and some mistakes even if they’re glaring at us like flashing iceberg signs – we can’t see them. We trust our kids, mine won’t do that, this is a good kid. And yet, the stories abound every year. Not to mention some of the more awful heart wrenching stories. The kind that in our quiet little enclave we’ve seen more of than I would have ever thought. It rips at your heart.
There’s no social media until junior year high school in our house. But there’s worry, real worry, and the very distinct possibility, that my really good kid is also going to make a really dumb decision. Part of that is growth as a human but that kind of growth when I was a kid wasn’t quite so damning. So much good from technology and so much bad and the quest to balance the two is ongoing. Well I guess that’s all I have to say on this and I’m more anxious than ever.
But I need to get to my carrier store. Because I have a really good kid, and I can’t keep them locked in a closet forever.