The iChild

by Lori Dwyer on February 10, 2012 · 18 comments

I wrote a couple of weeks about how my kids are growing up to be part of the iGeneration and freaking cool it was and blah blah blah.

All I have to say is- at 2am, a four year old playing the iPad is just not cool.

2 am- yes, you read it correctly the first time. The Chop woke one morning a week or so ago at that ungodly time and helped himself to the iPad.

He was still playing Angry Birds at 4am. And 6am. I hate to admit it, but I was too comatose to react much beside a snort and a half coherent thought of “sort out in morning…………….”

Come morning- 6 am- I was actually awake and horrified. The kid had been playing the iPad for four hours.

This had officially become a Problem.

I’m not proud to admit that this last year I haven’t limited my kid’s screen time as much as I did in the Before. But, hey, survival is survival, and ABC Kids got me through me winter. And while I know that’s not ideal, there are worse things you can do to your kids then let them watch too much TV. In fact, some psychologists will argue that you shouldn’t limit kid’s screen time at all. I think the jury’s still out on that one.

A Chop iPotrait. Taken with CamWow, obviously. Like ShamWow, only not.

What I do know is that when I spend hours playing a game, pointlessly surfing the Net, even absorbed in a book to the point where I’m almost inhaling it- I feel like crap. It’s not even the tired eyes, the stiff muscles or the fact that you can’t close your eyes without seeing Tetris blocks (or pissed off birds, whichever takes your fancy). It’s the general grumpiness, the detachment, the fatigue.

And I can see it in my son’s face- it has the same effect on him.

So I did what a lot of tired parents would do, given the situation. I lied.

The Chop is under the impression that the iPad is ‘in the shop, getting fixed.’ It’s been a week. The withdrawal symptoms- accompanied by tantrums and whinging on auto-repeat- lasted three days. The ‘When’s the iPad getting fixed Mum?’ questions are gradually slowing to a trickle.

Do I feel bad? You betcha. I don’t generally do lies, even little white ones. But the peace and quiet and lack of iGuilt is worth it. The chop still gets his Angry Birds fix on my phone, and the screen time is back to an (*ahem*) acceptable level. Depending on who you ask.

As a matter of fact, the iPad may or not come back from the shop at all. As usual, I’ll keep you posted.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Urooj Shah October 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

This was a good suggestion that you put up here…dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 
Electrical Wholesalers


Urooj Shah October 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

This was a good suggestion that you put up here…dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 
Electrical Wholesalers


Shellye February 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Sometimes with children, you have to stick with what works. I do agree that four hours of playing time is not a good idea. The best way to handle it is to give him a limited time to use it each day, then help him engage in something else that he can promotes education as well as fun. Perhaps he's at the age where an outdoor project would be idea.

Let us know how it goes when the iPad gets back from the shop.


marketingtomilk February 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I started using the tv as a babysitter when my second boy was born. he was so demanding, and such hard work, and i was so on the brink of (in)sanity most of the time that it was my only respite. but then it stuck and now they are obsessed. I've never limited their screen time and it's a constant source of guilt for me.



Bambi Kay February 12, 2012 at 3:32 am

OMG,Lori! I thought I was the only mom with "kid loves angry birds" problem!!! My three and half year old is an addict! Trying to wean him off. But problem is that his daddy also love angry birds!
Good thing what you did! I wish I could do the same!


Sharon A. February 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I know that bleary eyed feeling all too well, unfortunately!


kateypie35 February 11, 2012 at 1:57 am

you can put a password protect on your ipad, and change it often. gotta keep one step ahead of those sneaky boogers…


Melissa February 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Gotta admit, I lie to my kids all the time. I have them convinced that the sign outside the local donut shop indicates whether donuts are available that day (thank god they can't read)
"Sorry guys, the sign says no donuts today" I say as we drive by.


Anonymous February 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Funny! my daughter (7) loves all her "screens"', iPad, IPod (she has her own), DVD's, teev. They are children of the screen gen. I limit her to an hour, (two on weekends). OK, maybe a bit longer… she reads like a champion so all is good…
Lisa x


Kelloggsville February 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm

All electronic devices get put into a 'safe' place at bedtime in our house to avoid the temptation. I say all…I mean daughters. I often sneak onto mine under the covers!!


Anne-Maree Palmieri February 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

The great thing about small mobile devices is that they are easier to confiscate and / or hide. I've decided never to get play station or Xbox or wii for my kids for this precise reason. They are so used to the idea, they've actually stopped asking.


Maxabella February 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I can't decide if it's better that he's up at 2am helping himself to the ipad rather than the fridge… dilemma for the modern age. x


lori February 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Cool picture. I get that same bleary-eyed look when I play Sims 3 too long.


jadine February 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

1. Me, too, Steph(anie)…commenter #1.
2. I am not opposed to lies, trickery, wizardry, or voodoo when dealing with my kids. I'm also not opposed to a little technological experience for kids. I want an ipad (whines).


flask February 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

this is what i love about you: you tell us the truth and you reflect on it honestly.

sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's howlingly sad.

it is never -repeat NEVER- sugary cookiecutter mommyblog tedium, and thank you for it.


tearinguphouses February 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

my husband and i were just talking about this! we're pregnant with our first child and have already been asked if we've purchased him an ipad.


Steph(anie) February 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

Oh, just wait until he's old enough to discover porn and sneak the laptop (or iPad or whatever) into his room at 2am… not that that has happened in *my* house. Ahem.


Toni February 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

My 10 year old ran out our net allowance, playing sneakily late at night on his brothers' old iThing. We disconnected it from the net, and now make sure to take it away from him at night.
You're so right about the cranky disconnect from over-playing. I get that way too!


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