Thursday, 20 November 2014
Cancel the search party. Nothing to see here.
Our week-long screen-fast went brilliantly, though. Eldest read half a book. (This is a record). I read a whole one (a record this year). Children drew with actual pencils. Littlest only threw herself on the floor and whined once.
I didn't achieve a great deal. I'd love to say I sewed an entire wardrobe and became proficient at the saxophone (or even the mandolin, which I actually am learning), but what I did do was tidy up a bit more and read a bit more and waste less time fiddling around.
After a while, Eldest found a lo-fi way to tune the rest of us out, with the discovery of an ancient Sony CD Walkman which she plugged herself into for much of the week. You can take away the smartphone, but you can't cure a teenager of being, well, teenaged. She was allowed one birthday visit to the library to check her Facebook messages, during which she took the opportunity to leave a small online cry for help, like a message in a bottle sent from a desert island - "My mum has turned off the Internet..."
Since then, we've been playing at being a little bit stricter. We turn the screens off at 6 during the week, except Fridays and Saturdays, which are a bit of a free-for all. Sundays is completely off limits. The kids think we're evil. We don't care. Steve Jobs was super-strict about screen time. We're not even close to that.
I'm not preaching. I don't suggest you do this. If anything, it adds another layer of stress - can Eldest get her online homework done before 6? How can we possibly keep up with Strictly Come Dancing? How can I quietly pay bills online in the house on a Sunday when there are tiny angry eyes watching around every corner? It hasn't cured the children's addiction to their favourite poisons - Facebook, the Emmerdale website, Minecraft, Littlest Pet Shop videos - just given a definite shut-off time. It's easier to say 'No' than 'Just another ten minutes'. It takes less thought.
And less thought is about where I am right now. Less thought all round. That's just what I need.