At Home last Weekend Me: Can you wipe up please AN HOUR LATER Me: Sweetie, the wiping up needs doing AN HOUR LATER Me: Come on, I need you to wipe up and put away the dishes AN HOUR LATER Me: OK, I’m getting cranky now, I’ve got better things to do than nag you all weekend AN HOUR LATER Me: Put the washing up away, or there’ll be no dinner!
Me [checking WordPress stats]: Your ‘Teenage Tuesdays’ are without doubt my most popular posts. Him: That’s great Mum. Me: People love them- I get so many comments- they think you’re hilarious, they love you! Him: Wait, who are all these people? Me [bragging a little I admit]: I’ve got Followers all over America, in Canada, England, Europe in general, Australia too of course… nearly 650 now… Him: Hold on; I don’t know if I like all those people knowing stuff about me, and the things I say. Me: But… I… um… Him: It’s starting to feel like you’re just making notes about me to write on your blog; you’re not valuing sharing the funny moments with me, as they actually happen. Me: But… I… um… Him: And what does it say about your creativity Mum? You’re just quoting me. I thought your blog was about your life and viewpoint; surely using me and mine defeats the purpose? Me: Um… PAUSE Him: I don’t think you should do ‘Teenage Tuesdays’ any more, it’s not serving you.
Him: Mum, I really need to cleanse and do a facial; my skin feels dirty from all the pollution… [after one week in Sydney] LATER [having worked his way systematically through a variety of my locally-made, organic skin-care products] Him: Feel my face now, how soft is it hey? I don’t like the smell of all your creams though; they actually smell of nothing, but in a health food store kinda way
Me: So how’s it going with your new, internet-free phone Honey? My blog readers loved it! They’re very proud of you; we have “Teenage Tuesday” now, so they’re all up to date on you. Him: [*smirks and rolls eyes, but obviously kinda pleased] PAUSE Him: [*staring at me in a way that I know means he’s up to something…] You know Mum, if ever you ‘monetize’ your blog, I want 50%. Oh, and that’s backdated, OK.
Me: You really need to get a new battery for your smartphone honey, it’s very frustrating not being able to get hold of you sometimes. Him: No Mum. I’ve decided I want to buy a cheap phone without internet facilities; I’m sick of being reachable in so many ways by so many people. And the social media just distracts me. Call me ‘The Backlash’.
Me: What are you going to do when you finish school at 18? Go to university? Or perhaps take a year off and go travelling…? Him: A year?? Mum, I’m taking a decade off!
Me: Honey, you need to wipe up please. Don’t you have to do chores at Dad’s? Him: Are you kidding me? I have to empty the dishwasher, make my own school lunch, feed the dogs, AND babysit my two brothers; it’s like Boot Camp up there!
How much screen time? According to the Washington Post in 2015, teenagers spend an average of 9 hours a day looking at screens. NINE HOURS. (Children aged 8-12 are on about 6 hours). It’s 2017, so I’d guess the times are slightly higher now. Adults are on approx 4 hours a day in their leisure time, but obviously more if they sit at a desk with computer in front of them. Here in Australia, we have a particularly high engagement with our smartphones; some estimates are up to 10 hours a day (Source: ABC News May 14 2016). It’s simple: switch off the wifi When my son was approaching his teens, and had been given his first smart-ish phone by his Dad’s family for Xmas (which I had no say in unfortunately), a wise friend with a son 7 years older than mine gave me this advice: no screens in the bedroom. Brilliant. Don’t let them lock themselves away with TVs or laptops plus smartphones; some kids text and message each other at 2am on a …
The scene: Kitchen, breakfast routine underway before school, radio playing Him [suddenly lunging at radio & turning it up loud]: I love this band! Me [having heard only 2 notes of song]: Who’s this? And how did you know who it was so fast? Him: Because it was the beat that says ‘This is totally this song’.