My 12-year old son posed a question to me the other day that I’m sure many other mothers have heard in recent years.
"Mom, when can I have a cell phone?"
This comes from a kid who hates to talk on the phone. Here’s an example of one of his recent phone conversations with a friend I overheard while cooking dinner:
I’m going to pay $50.00 a month for that kind of intelligent conversation?
I initiated a dialogue with a group of mothers the other day on the subject of our children and electronic devices. One mother said, "When I was growing up, I survived with a rotary dial phone!"
Another Mom chimed in, "We had one phone and it was in the kitchen. I had to have my conversations in there while my mother cooked dinner and if I wasn’t careful, she’d make me mash the potatoes while I was talking!"
"I thought we were really living high on the hog when we got a long extension cord on our phone in the kitchen," I added excitedly, "That meant I could actually walk out of the kitchen and into the dining room to have a more private conversation with my friends!"
Children who grew up prior to 1990 had a different childhood than kids today. We walked five miles to school one way in the snow without boots and WE LIKED IT. We watched black and white television with (gasp) only three channels and during one long summer, all three channels carried the Watergate hearings and WE LIKED IT. If we needed to type a paper for school, we typed it on a typewriter with five sheets of carbon paper and if we made a mistake, we had to start all over again and WE LIKED IT. If we wanted to listen to music, we got in our 1977 TransAms and we shoved an eight-track tape into our car stereos and even when the eight-track player ate our eight-track tapes, we didn’t complain because WE LIKED IT.
I think it’s time for parents around the United States to start a revolution. We’re Baby Boomers – we have experience with this kind of thing. I’d like to receive a pledge from every mother that she’ll coordinate an electronic intervention with each of her children. Rip out those ear buds. Throw away the flash drives. Unplug the video games. Return to dial-up Internet service on your home computer so it takes your children so long to download an Internet page that they get bored and decide to go outside and play.
Call me with any questions. If you can’t reach me at home, try me on my cell phone.