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At War with Technology

I’m a technology mom. I’m a geek. I’m married to a software engineer while having a way too-close relationship on the side with my laptop, smartphone, and many other electronic devices. On the Today show Meredith Vieira called me an example of “Today’s Tech Mom,” resulting in friends and family members referring to me as “Techno-Mom” for months to follow. 

But I’m starting to feel like we need to unplug as a family just an eensy weensy bit. I’ve been worrying about some of Magoo’s behavior lately. Although I think some of his erratic emotional outbursts can be attributed to my recent problems and much of the rest attributed to his staunch threeness, I’m starting to suspect that his budding technology addiction is playing a role as well.

It starts as soon as he wakes up. He wants screen time. Sometimes before he’s even out of bed, he’s asking to play the Wii or watch a movie or play on Daddy’s computer. At first we thought it was so cute. “Look how smart he is. He’s barely two and he can navigate with a mouse.” Then it was, “Wow. Isn’t it fun that he can play the Wii with Mom, big sister, and Grandpa all at the same time? This technology’s bringing us all together.”

But it’s gotten to the point where he feels he’s entitled to and even needs it constantly. I try to keep a balance, but whenever he’s not using it he’s asking for it, and I’m sick of the arguments. He has a one track mind.

“Did you wash your hands?”

“I want to play Lego Star Wars.”

“Did you wash your hands?”

“Yeah. I want to do the Wii please. I said please. Please can I play Lego Star Wars?”

“You’ve already played today. Now it’s time for lunch. What should we make?”

“Ummm…Star Wars?”

And it’s not like I’m helping things. I’m rarely found without some light-up humming plastic or metal object attached to my hand or ear. All of this STUFF just makes life so much more convenient…and fast…and loud…and overwhelming. I love it even as I feel it slowly taking over and driving us all crazy.

So for the rest of the week I’m putting us all on a program of abstinence (at least while he’s awake) that may drive both of us up the wall. No TV. No movies. No video games. Limited computer for mommies only. I’m sure at first I’ll be fighting with him constantly, but I’m a big girl. I can take it. I hope he can.

There are just so many great things in life that do not run on batteries or electricity and it’s high time we both figured that out. It seems like his one hour a day of screen time is enough to keep his little brain begging constantly for more. Hopefully after a little detox, I can let it back in a little bit at a time. Maybe by then he’ll be addicted to blocks or coloring or playing outside in the Seattle rain for the next 9 months of gloom. I’ll let you know.

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