My name is Kathy and I’m a phone-aholic. I’ve become part of the new generation. I spend way too much time on my phone. I never thought this would happen to me, but it has and now I’m going to put myself to the test. I am no longer going to be a slave to this instrument of TMI. I need to rest my brain for a while.
When my children were growing up, we didn’t have cell phones. We had princess phones, dial phones and extension phones. The extension phone was my favorite, especially when the kids had extra long conversations and made it impossible for me to use it. I often would break into one of those dialogues and state that the limit had been reached. Of course I was the bad guy for a while, but it did establish a precedent. I was still the parent.
A few years ago a teacher in our area gave her students a choice. They could take their final exam, but they could opt out if they surrendered their cell phones. You would think this was a no brainer, but almost all of them chose to give up their phones for a week.
Her whole point was to get the students to realize there was another world beside that expensive piece of plastic. Her tactics worked. Kids began to communicate again. They didn’t have to take the exam, but were given additional assignments to maintain their grades, but the greater lesson learned was how important it is to have a real face to face conversation.
What a great teacher!
This summer might be the perfect time for parents to institute a similar option. By freeing them of those instruments you will be opening new doors for them. They can get some physical exercise by riding their bikes – walking to their destination – swimming – cutting the grass – helping an old lady weed her garden. They might offer to babysit for a neighbor for free. Doing a task to be of assistance without getting anything in return is a great confidence builder. Anything that involves interaction is great for future team building and problem solving.
I know this might sound drastic to some and even brutal to others, but you will be giving one of the best life lessons ever. You don’t have to confiscate the phone for the entire summer, but I am willing to bet they won’t be relying on them nearly as much when school resumes.
The reason we have summer vacations is to renew physical bodies and refresh them for the work that lies ahead. Now if I could just practice what I preach.