A Low Tech Family

A Low Tech Family

My 12 year old doesn’t have a cell phone. He asks for one all the time, but I have been very firm in my reply. No, not until he is older. “But mom, all my friends have one.” My response is always the same, “Good for them.”

I know my son very well. If I let him, he would play video games all day. When I tell him to turn the game off he always says the same thing, “Just let me finish this level, or just five more minutes, or I can’t save my progress if I shut it off now…” I let him have his five minutes, and then tell him to turn it off, level done or not. If he had a phone he would live on it. He would end up on the 5 o’clock news as the child who sent 30,000 text messages in a single month. Because I want my son to listen to his teachers, look while crossing a street, and actually do his homework while in his room, he will not be getting a phone for several more years.

If something happens at school and he needs to contact me he can go to the office and use the phone. If something happens while he is at piano lessons he can use their phone to call me. If something happens while he is at a friend’s house he can use their phone. If something happens while he is at baseball practice he can use his coach’s phone. He is never in a situation where he is unable to contact me or his father in an emergency. Plus, because he doesn’t have a phone to play with he is able to give his full attention to the activities I just mentioned.

Neither of my boys have a computer or a television in their bedrooms. If the laptop is needed for homework or just to browse, then it is used in the kitchen or the family room where I can see just what he is browsing. Does this make me a nosy mom? You better believe it, but in this world of child predators my boys will just have to get used to it.

As for TVs, we have two big ones, one in the living room and one in the family room. This is for two reasons, first it keeps the family together as opposed to everyone going to their own separate space in the house, and second I can see what they are watching. As I said in an earlier post, children who see too much violence become desensitized to it. They will have their whole life ahead of them to watch whatever they want once they are older, but right now they are young and impressionable. This arrangement allows their bedrooms to be a place they can retreat to for quiet play, reading, and of course sleeping.

I know this will come as a shock to many people, but I don’t have a smart phone, and neither does my husband. Our phones can text and talk and we are perfectly happy with that. There are days when I think to myself that I would love an iPhone, but then I hear people talk about their monthly cell phone bills and I am in blown away. I have many friends who are paying for four smart phones a month (his and hers, and two kids) and their monthly bill is bigger than a car payment!

Besides, between work, blogging, Facebook, and Pinterest I already spend enough time in the day ‘plugged in’. I think I can go to the mall, the doctors, or get my hair done and survive the hour or two that I am actually away from an internet connection. If I am going somewhere and I know I will have a lot of time to kill, then I take my Kindle and read. I have one of the original Kindles that only does newsprint style books. I do love my Kindle. It is much smaller than a real book and very practical, but we still go to the library and borrow real books all the time.

Do all these rules get on my son’s nerves? Sometimes, but he is also learning a valuable lesson. When he started middle school this year I actually offered to let him have a Facebook page of his own with the condition that he friend me. He told me that he didn’t want one! He said Facebook would only cause problems because kids at school do nothing but fight and bully each other online. He actually said he didn’t want to be a part of all that drama. That was a very proud day for me as a mommy. So often it feels like I am doing this parenting thing wrong but that day I knew I had done something very right.

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