Parenting in the Digital Age

We all know how quickly times have, and are changing. And the digital world is a largely undiscovered world for some of us 70’s children. I am up to date on some stuff but I have a feeling in a few years my 3 boys are going to be light years ahead of. I mean they looked at a round dial telephone like it was an alien – where are the buttons and why must you go round every time for the number?!

Last week my darling Maximilian tried my patience more than it deserved to be tried considering the week I was having, and all thanks to his prowess on the PC. He decided he needs an improved version of the tablet he currently has (which he saved up for and bought in January for a modest sum by his standards). So as I walk through the door from a rather frenetic day at the office I am dragged to the computer to be show a selection of websites offering “good deals” on tablets. He has researched, with the help of Google! a plethora of sites from PC connections to Game and Makro. And as he flicks from one screen to the other it is accompanied by comments like “This is a really good deal – it comes with this” (pointing to a USB stick on the photograph), and “this one is even cheaper” or “this one has a much bigger screen”.

Now he does not need a new tablet, but since Sims 4 has taken over his Minecraft world he wants a tablet so he can play Sims 4. The fact that he doesn’t have Sims 4 is not an obstacle either. “Oh you can get that mommy”. Like hell my boy. And so the battle began. Tuesday was much the same, except we had new X-Box pricing to peruse as well – “We want to get something first – before it is old” was the thinking behind this double tactic – now vying for a new upgraded tablet AND the latest X-Box. And between the 3 of them they had researched. They knew where to go if you wanted the gold control, where to go if you wanted games included in the price and who had the “best deal”.

And so the week continued…. I was beginning to wish we did not have internet!

Unfortunately my answer each evening was the same – no – despite the moaning and whining and crying (yes, there were tears), door slamming and sulking. I have been labeled a mean mom, unfair, showing favouritism (why do you always say no to me but not to the boys – referring to his twin brothers) and so on.

And as the week drew to a close I thought the matter had, somewhat reluctantly been laid to rest.

But how wrong I was – Saturday morning and the challenge appears as we step in to Musica “to have a look” and of course, Sims 4 is on the shelf. And so a whole new drama began to unfold. Same drama and moaning from Max, same answer from me. Until I thought my eyes would pop out of my head as I tried to refrain from clobbering the kid!

I don’t know where the spark for the move from Minecraft (which we have – Christmas and Halloween packs to boot (kids after my own hearts!)) to Sims – which we don’t. But the obsession is there and they spend so much time watching tutorials on playing. I mean who knew you could sit for hours watching other people play games with commentary.

And Alexander spent 15 minutes watching a young British teenager try American treats for the first time – I mean what do you think a Mint Patty is going to taste like for goodness sake. And when questioned at bedtime about the Mint Patty girl I was firmly told it was nice to watch. I mean honestly!

As I sit here all 3 are involved in various digital activities – Fifa 14 (you know because we don’t get current games), a Dr Who freak (yip – we rear them young here) and a by stand – Alexander is disappointed I am using the computer so he can’t! I have heard of fighting for bathroom time with your kids – this whole fight for the PC is new. And you know what … it is only going to get worse.

I wonder how many years before chidden don’t write in books at school and everything is done on a laptop. I still love reading the actual newspaper and an actual book or magazine. I am not a fan of e-readers – turning the pages is something special …


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