Sixteen year old boy—iphone5 in his hand, headphones plastered to his ears, eyes locked onto the screen—blindly navigates his way down the stairs. His eyes NEVER break contact. Fifteen hours a day. Every day. He eats his dinner, eyes glued. He grunts when asked a question, glances up quickly, then hones back on his baby. This is the latest screen experiment. This must be strategy 34, but who is counting? This is an Epic fail!
I can’t begin to tell you how much counselling time has been spent talking about “The Phone”. Nothing has worked. I am thinking about investing in a sledge hammer. I am considering reverting to the 80s when the cell phone was an albatross and all you could do was talk on it. It was not cool to own one of those.
This is what I have tried and what I have endured:
- Limiting screen to 1 hour a day: Getting off was a nightmare. Temper tantrums and general mayhem every day.
- Allowing 2 hours of screen a day: See number 1 for resulting behaviours. Subtract one hour of mayhem per day.
- Using an IPad babysitting device that automatically freezes when screen time is up: Disaster. Raging, swearing, hurling of the device. Thank goodness for Otter Boxes!
- NO screen time for 8 months: Peace… and then the demands started. Again.
- Allowing 3 hours on the weekend but chores must be done first: I am controlling. Phone is needed more often to connect with people and to schedule happenings. Ranting, swearing, and railing against the system. Apparently, I am THE system.
- Allowing unrestricted access for the whole weekend but turn in phone at 8pm Sunday nights: Not good enough. Resistance to turning in the device. I am power hungry. Sigh! More swearing and raging. He wants to be responsible. The phone will fix his problems if he can make his own decisions and have more access. (Side note: no friends were called and no events were scheduled during access time.)
- Allowing access every day of the week until 8pm and all weekend: Calm for a few days. Son rarely left his room. Family never saw him.
- Given 24/7 access to the phone: You would think all problems would be solved and the swearing and furniture throwing would stop. Nope! Son stops going to church, youth group, hip hop, ventriloquism lessons and becomes resistant to being schooled. Depression increases. The holy idol is watched 15+ hours a day.
- Starting tomorrow—if the boy does not follow through on his responsibilities—the phone will be gone until February. You can’t possibly imagine how excited I am about conveying this to him. Counsellor will be joining us via face time. I am praying my phone does not get thrown. I am preparing for the swearing. I will be bolting down the furniture before bed tonight; I don’t want any missiles to be launched.
Can you relate?
Feel free to use any one of these strategies on your own screen addict. Maybe one will work for you. If something does work I would love to hear about it! Personally, I am still contemplating annihilating the beast!
Disclaimer: This blogger does not take responsibility for negative behaviours or damage caused as a result of child’s reactions when any of these strategies are implemented.
Side note: We have not proceeded to number 9. That may be a future option. Mini breakthrough though: son admitted that the screen does not numb his pain, depression, and sadness the way he had hoped. Goal achieved. Temporarily…I’m not being negative; I just know how his brain works. Oh, and we are still on #8….