iPadYou may be one of the very people that I have traumatized with a speech that goes something like this:

Forget whatever magic formula you are trying. Tech after homework. iPads Thursday- Sunday. 30 minutes on days that end in Y. Whatever regulating you are doing is too much. It is not teaching kids the critical skill of balancing their inputs, managing their time and meeting their responsibilities.Stop being scared of kids and tech…let go of all guidelines. Just trust that after an extinction burst of totally tech immersion they will regulate to a nice balance, and you will no longer be a tech timekeeper.

Its the new version of cry it out sleep training. But with less crying. Let their eyeballs glaze over as the TV, tablet and computer drone on. After a while they will come back to you. Looking for cooking, art, conversation.

Its tall my soapbox. Tall and sporting an apple icon.

Guess what?

We need some limits.

Yesterday, a school day, I walked the kids home and we talked of Halloween costumes, pumpkin carving, and parades. We entered the front door and fanned out. Bedroom, living room, computer desk and plugged in. At 5 I asked if anyone was hungry. Leo looked up from a pile of 3 yogurt squeezer wrappers and 8 cheese stick wrappers and smiled. “I already ate.” (Remember our commitment to local, non processed food?, and our drawer of hand sewn hemp snack baggies)

I found Oliver with the iPad propped on his knee. Pantsless, wrapped in a sleeping bag. “Hungry?” “I just had a snack, sorry Mama.”

Back to my room. Design shows on the TV, laptop on the bed, phone beside me. Beta testing an app, shopping for a friends house and checking Facebook. I’ll try again later.

6:20. “anyone want to read? I have Westing Game here.” “After this show.”

7:45 Finish blog post. Wander back out. Leo still at computer, somehow now naked with no clothes in sight. Oliver has shifted so he can be closer to an outlet to charge iPad. Still pants less. “Lets brush teeth and read.” O: “Can I read to you?” Me: “I’d love that.” Oliver: “I never really ate.” Leo “I’m hungry” Me: ” Well I’m ready to read and do bedtime, you can eat, or read, your choice.” Oliver heads to fridge and gets leftovers and puts them in microwave. Leo squats  on the counter like a naked gargoyle and picks an apple. I head to the bedroom with a book to demonstrate my reading readiness.

8:15. I return from bedroom. “Reading time is over. Goodnight loves, don’t forget to brush.”

8:30 Oliver runs into bedroom with electric toothbrush in mouth, toothpaste foaming, Leo is 2 steps behind brandishing his toothbrush like the weapon it obviously is.

8:45 Oliver asleep in sleeping bag. Pantsless.

9:15 Leo comes in wide awake. “Mama, I had a nightmare that there was lava all over the sidewalks and then I did a spell and turned it into obsidian and bedrock and then we could walk on it.” Me: “Was that on Bay road? I really want sidewalks on bay road.” Leo: No…it was in Minecraft.

6:20am Leo is naked with the iPad. Oliver in front of the computer, pants on, coat on, hat on, backpack on.

What do you think? Too much tech?

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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