independent

Saturday 29 April 2017

A phone/iPad ban has produced some interesting results

Justine O'Mahony

I don't think my children know who I am. Any time I call their name, they look up from their phones/iPods/iPads and stare at me as if I'm some random stranger who has wandered into their home and taken up residence on their sofa.

They've taken to wearing headphones. I'm not sure if that's to block my voice out or to stop me from hearing what they're listening to. Either way it ends up with me screaming like a fishwife come dinnertime. I'm surprised the neighbours haven't called Childline... or the police.

It all came to a head last weekend, when I asked the older one to keep an eye on a pizza when I went to the shop. I returned home 15 minutes later to smoke billowing out the kitchen window. He had become so engrossed in his Playstation game that he nearly set the house on fire. Not only that but neither of them had even noticed the smoke, or that the dog was barking like a lunatic.

So we decided to impose a phone and iPad ban for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays. This caused consternation, with the older one telling us we were Neanderthals and the younger one practically hyperventilating at the prospect.

'What exactly do you expect us to do?' asked the Eldest insolently. I suggested that maybe he read a book, or get a bit of exercise or perhaps even as a last resort, sit down and chat to us, his parents - the ones who feed and house him and provide him with endless pocket money. Oh yeah and unconditional love.

'Are you having a mid-life crisis?' he inquired. 'Is dad going to buy a sports car or you going to have an affair?' I told him his father couldn't afford a sports car and I hadn't the energy for an affair.So we would settle instead for an electronics ban every weekend.

At 3 p.m. on Saturday I collected all gadgets and put them in a box to be returned at 5 p.m. Then we all sat down on the couch and looked at each other. 'What now?' asked The Youngest. I suggested I make a pot of tea. When I returned the other three were still sitting there looking at each other. Nobody wanted to watch a film. Nobody wanted to play cards. Nobody wanted to go for a walk. I was on the verge of caving and handing everything back. To be quite honest, I was suffering from a bit of separation anxiety myself.

But The Youngest saved the day. 'Let's talk about what we did during the week.' Great! I said. 'You first.' She grinned. 'We had The Talk in school this week.' Oh Jaysus! 'Did you? What was it like?' 'Good. We were allowed ask anonymous questions. I asked two.' Course she did. 'What were the questions?' She looked at me her eyes getting wider.

'Well someone asked what was a Threesome.' Himself looked like he was about to pass out. 'And what did teacher say?' I asked. She looked at me as though I was a dope. 'She said it's three people who want to have sex of course.'

'Right. Here, do you want your iPad back?'

Gorey Guardian

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