kids, technology, and a contract to save your sanity

Yes, we’re midway through summer, but I still think this is a worthwhile read for those of us dealing with kids and technology.

“I felt a wave of sadness.

Because I know that without constant monitoring, unplugging and resisting my kids’ desire for more technology, this could be us. And I’m guessing balance is probably a struggle for most families, too. I know some have simply stopped struggling against it and just given in. I get it.

We are in an unprecedented era of technology that none of us have ever experienced. And we really don’t know the effect it will have on our children.”

Hey Internet- Let’s Have an Honest Talk About Screens This Summer – Kristen Welch

5 ways to kill your lunch hour instead of your coworker

Now, for another edition of “I didn’t know I could find that on the internet.”  No, not the naughty stuff, get your mind out of the gutter.  Just a little fun to help waste pass the time. 

Scamper off, now, and check out some of these links to kick off your morning.  (Or afternoon, depending on your blog reading habits.  Oh, and thanks for visiting.)

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Damn You Auto Correct!  For all the times your phone auto corrects your texts to absolute nonsense.

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Scrolldit  Because who doesn’t love a site that sorts through all the crap on Reddit and highlights just the images people are sharing?  I sure do.

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Dilbert  Guaranteed laughs for anyone who’s ever worked an office job.  Because Dilbert.

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Passive-Aggressive Notes  For those of you who can appreciate the laugh behind digs and counter digs.

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There, I Fixed It  Bwahahahaha!  Now here are some fix-it jobs even I could have handled better.

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seriously? you cannot possibly think this plan is going to work

Last I heard Bear was aiming for professional basketball player or a brain surgeon when it comes to life goals.  Basketball.  Or surgery.

After I was fully supportive of my daughter’s ambitions I tactfully slipped in that she might want to consider becoming a lawyer.  What with her proclivity of arguing things into the ground and all.

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because so many of us have postgraduate degrees lying around

For people who whine about having their privacy invaded, teens know remarkably little about their privacy rights on social media.  Though, to be fair, the same could be said for many adults since those terms of use agreements read like Sanskrit.

One lawyer decided to break down Instagram into plain English for us.

“Afterward, the teenagers said they understood very little about privacy rights on Instagram, despite getting through the terms and conditions.

‘I don’t know due to the sheer amount of writing and lack of clarity within the document,’ a 15-year-old said, according to the report.

The group ran Instagram’s terms and conditions through a readability study and found that it registered at a postgraduate reading level, Afia said.”

A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of use ‘in plain English’ so kids would know their privacy rights – The Washington Post

the secondary market for nanny cams

We never did invest in a nanny cam.  I can see the benefit, especially if someone else spends all day with your kids, but we never felt the need for one in our home.  Or, more accurately, the discussion of having a nanny cam never even came up between BrightSide and me.

There were plenty of times when it would have been advantageous to have a bird’s eye view of what went down in the other room.  Knowing exactly how Sharpie got on the carpet.  Being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who threw the first Lego.  These would have saved valuable brain cells spent sorting through denials and accusations, brain cells that might even have fired up to make a dinner or two.  But alas, we went old school.

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my car yells at me (and other reasons advanced technology might not be for you)

I don’t remember being particularly jumpy as a child.  I don’t actually remember not being jumpy either.  I’m gonna assume it was a nonissue.

I’m not sure exactly when this changed, but somewhere along the way I became a bit more high strung.  People startled me by walking into a room, and by “startled” I mean said hi then watched as I peeled myself off the ceiling.  Slamming doors made me jump, and going into a dark basement then searching for that chain to turn the light on?  Forget about it.  You could have a secret chocolate fountain down there and I still wouldn’t go.

I mean dang, who hasn’t had nightmares about their grandparents’ root cellar?  No?  Just me?  Well.  Okay then.

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gratitude: here in the 21st century

I’ve been known to utter things like this to the kids when I feel like sounding a hundred years old:

  • I remember when I’d leave home for the day and that was that – I was out of reach.  If I didn’t make plans to meet up with my friends the night before then I was SOL.
  • Before we moved I always made sure I got my friends’ addresses.  No, not their e-mail addresses, I didn’t have one of those until I was in college.  I got their actual addresses so I could send them actual letters.
  • There was no such thing as online shopping.  Needed a new pair of shoes?  I was out of luck until my mom had a free day to go to the shoe store, and there was a fifty-fifty chance that wouldn’t happen until one of my siblings needed shoes, too.
  • Driving required dependance on the kindness of strangers.  If you ran out of gas, there was no OnStar or calling AAA.  You’d be hoofing it to the closest gas station (and hoping it was open).  Being stranded on the side of the road meant hoping a helpful neighbor happened by.  Getting in an accident dropped you off the map until you were towed somewhere; then you could ask to use the phone to call your parents.
  • There was a time when it wasn’t a choice between a flip phone, a smart phone, or an Android.  There was one phone, and it was plugged into the wall in your house.

Folks talk about the cell phone being both a blessing and a curse.  That constantly being available to the world makes it difficult to back off and refresh.

As for me, I land on the blessing side of things.  I handle roughly 90% of my scheduling and such while I’m out and about; I can’t imagine having to come home to a voicemail filled with messages to return.  I love being able to reach out to my sister with a question or a silly thought, and knowing my kids can reach me in an emergency is priceless.  (Granted, they think a headache and icky feeling at school constitutes an emergency, but the premise holds.)

Plus I know how to turn the phone off to go underground for a while.


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

The Tween Whisperer and Other TV Proposals

I gave up cable TV for Lent two years ago.

Well, that’s not exactly true.  It was more like Christmas day.  We’d installed our Apple TV, and my ensuing cable boycott may have been largely due to the fact that we dislodged the infrared receiver during that installation.

Anyway, that was definitely the day I gave up cable TV.

At first it was mostly due to inconvenience.  I missed all my regular shows, the ones I recorded and watched on my own time, but I stuck to my guns.  Sure, the DVR was still doing its part, but to access it I had to go around the corner, use the remote on the cable box, and hope I managed to hit the right series of buttons without having the screen to guide me.

Besides being ridiculously cumbersome, there were some glaring problems with this system.  I couldn’t pause the TV when young people entered the room without hurdling the coffee table and skidding around the corner.  A lot can happen in those 5.2 seconds, things I might not necessarily want to explain to my kids.

Plus, there was Netflix.

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