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madteaparty

Are we really raising our kids that differently than people around us?

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I'm in a philosophical mood...I visited family (well educated (PhD)) in another urban area and then also had a separate kid DS's age visit us for the weekend.

These kids are always on their phones. It is all benign (single word or emoticon snapchat, pictures of the mediocre dessert at dinner when out at a restaurant). I heard a radio interview with an expert who said this is just the kids' way of being with each other as they have no free "hang out" time...

But, this is not normal, is it? It is not in the rural area I am in, but he will go to a high school.

It occurs to me we need to worry not just about our kids' problems but the problems of those being raised completely differently. I confiscated the phone of the 12 year old houseguest at 9pm when they went to bed (sharing a room with DS and they were going skiing all day). Phone was locked but I could not help noticing, when I returned it in the morning, that he got random messages until well after 10pm, by the same girl, demanding he contact her because she needed him (she admitted knowing he was at sleepover). This is what we have to deal with now? Is this your world?

Btw, I am not innocent. Ds has an iPad and has had it for years. He gets 1.5 hrs total on it each day, with a timer on, when he has finished his work. No texting though and no other screens. It's the constant back and forth that baffles me.

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The thing from the girl was a little weird, but it does happen.  

My teens text a lot.  It is just how they talk to their friends.  When they are together in person, they are often on phones, but are usually looking up goofy YouTube videos to show each other.  And yes, mine have had middle of the night conversations with needy friends.  As long as they are still doing other things, doing well in school and reading books, I'm not too worried about it.  Mine tend to self-regulate fairly well.

 

I remember, as a teen, being on the phone for HOURS with my friends.  Drove my mom nuts because our one corded phone was in the hallway next to the bathroom..lol.  Sometimes I talked to friends into the wee hours of the morning once I had a phone in my room.  

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Nope, not our world and not the world of anyone we know.

 

DS has free reign to the computers, iPads, iPod etc but zero interest in having a phone. He doesn't email or text anyone and doesn't listen to music. He would have extremely limited patience with anyone who behaved like you described and would find them quite silly and rude.

 

I don't think in his case it has anything to do with homeschooling or even how he's been raised. We all spend plenty of time on our various screens, he plays his XBox everyday, he spends time at the middle schools with other teenagers on his various sports teams. He is definitely a "modern" kid, but not one prone to fads or interested in looking cool.

 

Time will tell if it changes when he goes to public high school, but I'd be surprised. It wouldn't be consistent with his general personality, at any rate.

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My son is in 8th grade.  I noticed the other day that while we were at the school JV basketball game waiting for the varsity game to start, every single (and I mean all 10) of the 7th and 8th grade boys were hunched over their phones. Some of them were texting each other.   And then I looked across the gym at the other team, and it was the same exact thing.  When I take my son and his friend somewhere (mine in the front seat, the friend in the backseat) they are texting - sometimes each other - and sometimes playing the same game together. 

 

When I look at my son's phone all I see is a string of text messages to a group of school friends and they are all these one word (sometimes not a nice word) back and forth or emojis or something like "what was our math homework" type stuff.  It has mostly been innocuous. 

 

But then I think of the hours and hours and hours I used to spend on the phone as a teen and my parents being exasperated "who can you be talking to that long? what is there possibly to discuss with someone you just spent 8 hours with at school" and I guess it is sort of the same thing.

 

 

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It wasn't constant, but in the late 80s/early 90s, I spent plenty of afternoons on the corded phone, dragged around the corner from the living room.  What were we saying for hours?  Nothing.  The equivalent of dessert pictures or emoticons.  Around age 11 was when my parents put a hard and fast rule of no phone calls after 9, so I think it's just a different generation/new technology, not a new problem.

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My 17 year old does not have a cell phone and won't until there is some need of one.  Even then, if I'm footing the bill, it will be a simple model.  Probably a tracfone (that's what I have). We have a house phone, and he can (and does) make calls on it.  That's good enough, IMO.

 

For the life of me, I don't know where we got the idea that giving teenagers a private communication network is a good idea.

 

I also believe there are real dangers (not just to teens) of using e-communications for everything and believing that they constitute real relationships, and so failing to form those for oneself.

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Yes, its normal. Most have no transportation, so they text constantly to fulfill their social needs. Or they chat in-game. They learn to set boundaries.

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It's not cell phones for my kids, but they do spend quite a bit of time on their computers. 

 

Everywhere I go people are glued to their phones and/or tablets.  Adults actually more so than kids.  Everyone has rules against kids doing that so I don't see that as much.  But adults, again, all.the.time.

 

I guess what I am saying is that it is not just a kid/teen thing at all. 

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It's not cell phones for my kids, but they do spend quite a bit of time on their computers.

 

Everywhere I go people are glued to their phones and/or tablets. Adults actually more so than kids. Everyone has rules against kids doing that so I don't see that as much. But adults, again, all.the.time.

 

I guess what I am saying is that it is not just a kid/teen thing at all.

Yep. Like bad drivers. The teens get blamed for poor driving, but nearly all of what I see is by adults who most definitely know better. But that's another topic! Lol

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I've recently become bothered by cell phones. Not just with kids but adults as well. My mom, a 61 year old woman, got her first smart phone about a year or two ago and in her free time is constantly on facebook. I don't even like asking her to watch the kids because I know my 3YO will be unsupervised.

 

I gave up my phone about a year ago because I couldn't stand paying such a huge bill (we were with Verizon at the time and paid about $220 a month for two phones!). I realized I was paying all that money to text and facebook. And I did it entirely too much. I remember I would pick up my phone and check texts/scroll through facebook before remembering I had JUST checked everything minutes ago. I would constantly be telling my dd "Hold on a second," as I responded to texts. After being phone free for a year I do actually miss having my own phone. It's weird but it feels a bit like I've lost a little of my identity. I have used dh's phone to text a friend and I still communicate with others via computer, but people don't text me anymore. It's not MY phone. I don't know it's weird lol but it just shows me how much I was invested in a cell phone. 

 

The plan is dd will not get a phone until she starts driving. Now, that might change if she needs one sooner--but as for having a cell phone at 8? Heck to the no. I've seen 6 year olds with phones and although they know perfectly well how to use them.. I don't think they are ready to have unsupervised access to internet, facebook, etc.

 

I'm rambling but basically.. I do not believe it's just a generational thing. I think it is an entire society thing.

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It is the norm here. It is how the teens communicate. When mine were younger teens I took the phones at a certain hour. As they got older I lightened up as they needed to learn how to manage themselves.

 

Our kids know that we have all their passwords and reserve the right to look at their stuff if we feel it is necessary.

Edited by kewb

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My daughter is almost 15 and she is glued to her phone. She's not supposed to have it at family meal times but I actually had to tell her to put it away while she was texting under the table at dinner at her grandmother's house this last weekend! Rude! But it did clue me in that she was texting a boy again. She never gets that obsessed unless there's someone she's interested in.

 

But yeah, everything is digital. She draws something and if she likes it, she takes a picture and shares it with friends. She hears a funny joke, and texts someone about it. She isn't totally engaged in the here and now, because she's also busy being connected to people who aren't here. She reads a book and rants about how bad it was in a chat room with her friends. These are people she sees every day at school not just random internet people.

 

The phone stays out in the living room when she goes to bed. She sneaks it into her room at night every so often and then gets grounded.

 

I've found that my other daughter, who is homeschooled, isn't able to nurture friendships with other homeschooled kids because the homeschooled kids in this area don't have phones at her age (8th grade). So they aren't in frequent contact with each other. She sees them once a week, sitting in a class at co-op for an hour where they're busy listening to the teacher and not having actual conversations with each other. They get a 20 minute snack time. That's not enough. When I was a kid, we had land lines and I'd sit around for hours chatting with friends. This isn't that different.

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It just kind of drives me crazy.  Adults often hold their kids/teens to higher standards than they themselves adhere to.  I constantly hear at choir, for example, all the anti cell phone rules during concerts, rehearsals, etc.  While they are telling the adults this, someone's glued to their phone or the phone rings.  Adults stand up at the venues to record stuff and take pictures.  Adults sit through kid movies on their phones (which frankly makes me very angry because the bright light in a dark theatre is very disturbing). 

 

Not my intention to pick on you Mad...just saying maybe kids do what they do because the adults in their lives have modeled it.  I personally hate cell phones.  I have a no frills crap tiny phone that does nothing but make phone calls.  I keep it in a drawer and usually forget it most of the time.  So both of my kids kinda have the same attitude as I do towards cell phones.  I haven't told them how to think about it.  They just see what I do and have done and they do similar things. 

 

I bought my 14 year old a phone for the first time when he started taking an outside class.  He takes the bus there and back so I wanted him to have a way to call if something was up.  I have to remind him to charge it and bring it.  He doesn't do more than slip it into his bag.  He never uses it.  He is not interested.

 

But full disclosure...we all spend a lot of time on our computers here.  I'm not suggesting I'm better at it.  Just saying cell phones are something I've never been interested in.  I bought one out of absolute dire need (years ago when we moved here and went to have the phone hooked up someone had cut the line to the apartment we rented so we had to wait awhile for that to get fixed). 

 

 

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As long as my kids put it down when asked or when in the presence of real life people, I don't have that much of a problem with it.  

 

The other night, a woman who has been coming to some social events with us lately, came to our group event.  She doesn't speak English yet, but is working on it.  We downloaded an app that allows us to text and translate, so we spent time "chatting" through our phones that evening......I am sure whoever saw us at the restaurant thought we were all being rude to one another, but we were tickled that we could actually "speak" to each other and have a conversation!

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Standard here too. I admit I'm almost always on my phone. Usually reading a book or researching (again) about homeschooling or whatever I need to research. Or making lists. Texting? Occasionally for 10 min.

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My kids are 19, 13, and 12.  The 19 year old is in school and has work, but she has communicated with her friends primarily via text for years.  The 13 year old is on her phone a lot, but she's usually watching youtube videos or something.  The 12 year old is always texting or on snapchat or instragram.....some form of social media.

 

The only time it bothers me is if they try to do it when we're doing somethihng as a family, like playing a game or eating dinner, and then I just remind them to put the phones away and they do.  I just don't see the difference between the way they communicate and spend their time and the way anyone has, all the way back to when I was a kid, other than the mechanism itself has changed.   

 

Funny story....I was sitting with my parents over Christmas.  My father was reading a book and I was on my phone, and my father jumped all over me, going on and on about the stupid phones, blah blah blah.    I said first of all, I'm over 40 and you are not the boss of me, and second of all...I was reading a book, on my Kindle app.  Somehow that was not the same as his reading his physical book in his hand.  Umm...whatever, dad. hahaha

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I am content to not be a part of that culture.  Just last night my husband came home with the observation that back before cell phones, when the people in the factory where he works were on break, they'd sit and talk to each other.  Now he walks by during break time and they are all just looking at their phones. 

 

Insofar as kids go, I'm simply not interested in giving my children access or giving other people access to my children.  When I was a kid we had the corded phone....and my mother let me talk on it, sometimes, for a brief amount of time (no HOURS on the phone in my household!  she just thought that was silly).  I'm not a paranoid person, but there are predators who are taking full advantage of parents' cluelessness about technology.  But that's not the primary reason I'm not interested in my children having access to technology...the basic reason is because for us, real life happens away from a screen. (My husband knows how to turn his cell phone on and make a call--and that is literally all he knows--and it lives in the glove box of his car.) 

 

I find constant screen-looking annoying in an adult or a child, and just don't want to encourage that in my own kids!  It's way too easy to just fall into it constantly (I know from experience) so I'm trying to be quite mindful of when I use my phone (I don't have an ipad) and computer, and when I don't. 

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Funny story....I was sitting with my parents over Christmas.  My father was reading a book and I was on my phone, and my father jumped all over me, going on and on about the stupid phones, blah blah blah.    I said first of all, I'm over 40 and you are not the boss of me, and second of all...I was reading a book, on my Kindle app.  Somehow that was not the same as his reading his physical book in his hand.  Umm...whatever, dad. hahaha

 

This reminds me of something.  My older kid constantly wants to play a certain game which I will not name.  It's available on-line.  Sometimes we do break down and humor him and play it.  But this involves us all being on a tablet or computer.  So there we are altogether playing a game, but on our screens.  Kinda bizarre.

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The only part that bothers me is college students that can't sit through a 50 minute class without texting. I see that a lot. My personal perspective is it is the note passing equivalent of this generation. I also wonder if part of it a shifting mindset of what we do when we're in a group of people. My mom will chat with anyone and everyone, I can but prefer to not make conversation with random strangers, and I've noticed college students take about 3-4 weeks to warm up to conversation before class if they don't know anyone. 

 

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I know that I raise my kids differently than parents around me. Quite different. I'm okay with that. So far so are my kids. 

 

My oldest is 15 and *gasp* does not have a smart phone. He has no need for one. We also don't have a video game device in our house. They do play minecraft on their kindles and laptop. 

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<snip>

 

Funny story....I was sitting with my parents over Christmas.  My father was reading a book and I was on my phone, and my father jumped all over me, going on and on about the stupid phones, blah blah blah.    I said first of all, I'm over 40 and you are not the boss of me, and second of all...I was reading a book, on my Kindle app.  Somehow that was not the same as his reading his physical book in his hand.  Umm...whatever, dad. hahaha

 

Love this. 

 

I agree that it is just different.  I also spent time on the phone with friends as a teen. I also spent hours in my room listening to James Taylor albums over and over... only difference now is that kids are directly plugged into their music.  My mom probably would have loved it if I'd had a way to listen to  music without her having to hear it.   LOL. 

 

My reading has increased dramatically since I got a smartphone and kindle app.  If I'm messing with my phone, that's what's going on.  Or, I'm updating my shopping list.  :-)

 

All devices are set aside during family meals and other activities.  So far, no complaints there.

 

I took Facebook off my phone as it was eating too much data.  It is easy, when out and about and with a few idle minutes, to go there.  Now I try to keep a light book on the kindle app for brief reading moments. 

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I'm fretting that my 11yo who is doing Iliad and odyssey in school is still checking out anne of green gables and American girl books at the library. I'll fight the texting stuff until the bitter end, I guess. My kids have access to my electronics for kids things, but not much else.

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Not our world either, and my kids are at school. No personal phone until 15yrs, limited screen time, no Facebook. And she hasn't really expressed interest in social media. If she needs to contact friends she texts from my phone or Skypes or emails. Mostly she talks to them when she sees them. I try to model the same behaviour. The kids have iPod touch and a family iPad but no other gaming devices.

 

I think it's a huge plus in terms of how grounded dd15 is and how she never really experienced any of the preteen meanness you hear about. But now that she is at a new, mainstream school she is aware that not being plugged into social media sets her apart from most of the other kids. It's a bit lonely. I remind her that she'll find likeminded kids eventually (she's only been there 4 days!)

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My 14 yo has a phone because he has a lot of outside activities and he needs a way to let us know where/when to pick him up. My older girls share a phone and we mainly got it for them to take to swim meets. We/they use it for pick-me-ups if they have a "bad" event or something.

 

When I was young my mom made sure I always had at least the amount of whatever the pay phone cost. Those simply aren't available for the most part now. The cell phone takes the place of the pay phone for my kids, especially my eldest. I think there are people (adults and kids) who get sucked into the technology at the expense of relationships. I try to model responsible and moderated use for my kids.

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What I find so weird about teens today is that they're constantly on their phones WHEN THEY'RE SOCIALIZING IN-PERSON. Sure, I used to chat on the phone with my friends (what girl didn't?) but when I was hanging out with my friends at the mall/roller skating rink/movies/etc. (can you tell I was an '80's kid, LOL?) we actually PAID ATTENTION TO EACH OTHER. What a concept!

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We gave our boys smart phones when they were around 15.  We never imposed any sort of screen time limits on them.

 

Oldest is a social creature and is on his a LOT.  I doubt there's a social network he's not on.  But he knows when to put it down.  He's a great kid, working hard and excelling at college.  His cell phone usage isn't even worth a tiny blip on my mom radar.  A total non issue.

 

Youngest uses his phone to play games, check sports scores, etc.  We would be happy if he would start texting/joining social networks/whatever to reach out to people.  It's the way young people connect nowadays, and we'd really like to see him connecting more with his peers.  Alas, he's not particularly interested.

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The only part that bothers me is college students that can't sit through a 50 minute class without texting. I see that a lot. My personal perspective is it is the note passing equivalent of this generation. I also wonder if part of it a shifting mindset of what we do when we're in a group of people. My mom will chat with anyone and everyone, I can but prefer to not make conversation with random strangers, and I've noticed college students take about 3-4 weeks to warm up to conversation before class if they don't know anyone.

At ds's university, phones must be powered down in class and if a student is on one, the instructor tells them to leave. They are barred from re-entry for the rest of the class period, and anyone refusing to leave will be esorted by security which is a big no no because it can result in being in big trouble with the school. This policy has solved the problem! Interestingly, the issue prior to the policy was not traditional 17-23 year old full time students, but the thirty something crowd going back to school or part time students. The ones that matriculated directly from high school were already used to strict cell phone policies during class periods and accustomed to powering down before the instructor began.

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I get grumpy about it too.  In fact, I love electronic gadgets but I've stayed away from smart phones because I'd use it all the time.  Like I deliberately didn't get a deep fat dryer, I knew I'd use it too much.   People texting often doesn't bug me.   But, people being in each others presence while texting with other people seems rude.   Just like talking on the phone for hours and hours is perfectly fine if you are alone.   But, you don't go out to eat with one group and then call up someone else and then spend the evening talking to them.

 

Even though DD doesn't see the glued_to_phone modeled by her parents, she does see it in general.   We recently moved to a rural area and I've never lived outside a suburb, so I'd sometimes get lost.  I bought a GPS for the car.   DD (aged 5) asks to play with "my phone" when we are driving.  She really wants to at a parent's "phone" like she sees others doing. 

 

One time we in the waiting area of DD's dance school, DD was playing on the floor with the toys that they have.  There were three girls aged 6-7 sitting on the couch with their mother's phones.  One of them was engrossed, the other two looked longingly at DD and the toys.  But they seemed to feel they should stay on the couch with the phones.  It was sad.  They were too young to be too cool to play. 

 

But, I figure DD will be the one paying attention in that college lecture and to life in general. 

 

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What I find so weird about teens today is that they're constantly on their phones WHEN THEY'RE SOCIALIZING IN-PERSON. Sure, I used to chat on the phone with my friends (what girl didn't?) but when I was hanging out with my friends at the mall/roller skating rink/movies/etc. (can you tell I was an '80's kid, LOL?) we actually PAID ATTENTION TO EACH OTHER. What a concept!

 

Here's what I see with my daughter and her friends.  She does not have a large circle of friends, and does not have a smartphone, just a basic one for texting/calling, but her friends do have smartphones.

 

Recently she met 3 friends at the mall.  Of course I didn't see her most of the time, but I did witness a few minutes.  The 4 girls were texting/facetiming a few mutual friends of theirs.  They were interacting together and with the friends who weren't there. 

 

Sometimes in the car when I'm driving her and a friend to/fro somewhere, the smartphone-owning friend will open facebook, or her photos, and they'll look at something together - for ex, old camp photos or something.  They are still engaged but also with the phone.

 

When friends are here, the phone doesn't really come out much. 

 

So, I don't know.  I have asked my daughter if she feels left out because others have smartphones and she doesn't, but she says it isn't a problem.  She isn't a big facebook user, doesn't use instagram at all, even at home, so she doesn't seem to feel that lack. She has said that most people she knows don't stay glued to their phone.  But again she has a small circle and maybe they are all atypical. 

 

I suspect if she went to high school she might feel a bit more like an oddball.   I have never felt she would fit in at school very well until she hits college. Just a general impression based on her personality and her inability to connect with girls her age in our neighborhood when we moved here - she was 8 years old and even then felt that the girls didn't like to talk about interesting things.  And, they didn't enjoy arts/crafts!  Gasp!  :-)   (They all played basketball instead.) 

 

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Are dh and I the only ones who didn't try to raise our kids differently than people around us as the title suggests? Does it have to do with who the people around us are? The people we surrounded ourselves with raised some wonderful kids. All of them use computers and smart phones. The same goes for the people around us when dss was growing up, minus the smart phone and internet stuff.

 

Ds got his first cell phone in 2008 (not smart phone) at age 11 because we gave up our landline and we were starting to leave him home alone. As time went on he graduated to a smart phone. We don't fear change or technology as long as you learn to use the technology appropriately. What is appropriate? Well, that's still evolving because this is all relatively new.

 

I spent hours on the phone with my friends. Texting is the modern day teenager's version of that.

 

Yes, its normal. Most have no transportation, so they text constantly to fulfill their social needs. Or they chat in-game. They learn to set boundaries.

 

My son and his friends chat on Steam almost every night. Their chat is not superficial. One friend came out to the others as transgender in a Steam chat. Ds and his girlfriend of 2 years first admitted they like each other (yes, with other friends there lol), and recently ds has been working through his feelings by talking to his friends in chat (and texting) about his elderly dog that we're going to have to have put down very soon.

 

People see others on a phone or hear about teens on computers and automatically make negative assumptions. They shouldn't.

 

As long as my kids put it down when asked or when in the presence of real life people, I don't have that much of a problem with it.  

 

The other night, a woman who has been coming to some social events with us lately, came to our group event.  She doesn't speak English yet, but is working on it.  We downloaded an app that allows us to text and translate, so we spent time "chatting" through our phones that evening......I am sure whoever saw us at the restaurant thought we were all being rude to one another, but we were tickled that we could actually "speak" to each other and have a conversation!

 

That is so cool, Dawn! You're right though. I'll bet people who saw your table judged you all negatively.  

 

People often see the down side of smart phones and other technology yet rarely consider the positive aspects. In addition to what I mentioned above, ds uses his phone to apply for jobs and to check his college grades and assignments on Canvas.

Edited by Lady Florida
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It occurs to me we need to worry not just about our kids' problems but the problems of those being raised completely differently..

 

Completely aside from the issue with phones (my kids are under 10),I think about this all the time. Because it is a real problem in our day to day lives.

 

I don't mean like rigorous school v. laid back school, or religion, or parenting styles, or anything like that. What we run into all the time, are kids that don't have much to talk about in the first place, and can't (?) talk to adults at all. And their parents seem baffled when my kids try to have a conversation with them. So before we even can get to the point of seeing if we have anything in common with ppl, we are stopped at the gate by an inability to communicate in the first place.

 

It's like constant culture shock, but with ppl in and of the same culture as us.

 

We move around quite a bit so I know for sure this phenomenon comes and goes (and we do know some really cool folks!), but I am really really worried about it being the case when the kids are older and really really need peers and mentors.

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All my oldest's activities give updates by email and/or texting.  This includes classes/college professors, sorority, dance team, her job, her internship, and her friends.   She'd never be able to keep up with everything without her phone.

 

Everyone at my job uses email and expects answers quickly.  They provide Iphones to employees.

 

I think it's just the reality these days, although I don't think it's a "kids these days" thing.  I went with dh to his 40th class reunion.  When we went out to dinner with some of his closest friends, ALL of them were on their phones.  Posting pictures to Facebook, looking at what other people are doing, texting.  I thought it was hilarious since they were all 57-60 years old.

 

 

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Lots of parents don't allow phones and lots of parents do. Lots restrict screen time and a lot don't etc, etc.

 

I don't think it's a case of right/wrong...just different.

 

I'm not sure why phone use is alarming. Smart phones are used for a lot of things.

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Completely aside from the issue with phones (my kids are under 10),I think about this all the time. Because it is a real problem in our day to day lives.

 

I don't mean like rigorous school v. laid back school, or religion, or parenting styles, or anything like that. What we run into all the time, are kids that don't have much to talk about in the first place, and can't (?) talk to adults at all. And their parents seem baffled when my kids try to have a conversation with them. So before we even can get to the point of seeing if we have anything in common with ppl, we are stopped at the gate by an inability to communicate in the first place.

 

It's like constant culture shock, but with ppl in and of the same culture as us.

 

We move around quite a bit so I know for sure this phenomenon comes and goes (and we do know some really cool folks!), but I am really really worried about it being the case when the kids are older and really really need peers and mentors.

Yes, thank you. This is exactly. Someone literally complimented me for DS being able to hold a conversation for 30 minutes (it was in French, but that was not the point, it was not the French she was complimenting, it was, in her words his ability to hold a conversation. I did not feel particularly flattered. 

Also I keep thinking about that very needy girl sending incessant texts into the night: what problem did she expect a 12 year kid to solve for her? I imagine my DS really being thrown by such demands.

 

There's a New Yorker cartoon that describes the state of things:http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/When-I-make-eye-contact-for-the-first-time-I-want-it-to-be-with-the-righ-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i13894266_.htm

Edited by madteaparty
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My children will get phones when they can afford to get them. We are weird to many people but all of our close friends are similar. My kids have access to plenty of technology and can use my phone when they need one. Dd thinks it's incredibly rude when people play on their phones instead of acknowledging others in the room. I hope she stays that way.

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I never spent hours on the phone with friends, growing up, so that's foreign to me. We lived in a tight community and spent lots of time outside and at each other's homes.  There wasn't any need to be on the phone, we just visited in person. Plus we didn't have call waiting and there was always a call from overseas we had to keep the phone open for. (I wonder if there really was a call, or if that's just what they told us! LOL) 

 

I have a smartphone that I bought for work because I often traveled. I keep it only because someone else pays for it. It's not worth it to me to have to pay for it myself.  But I don't use it for anything but phone, texting and maps. I use it for email rarely and it's too small for me to like for internet browsing. I don't play games. I've never been one for social media. I have an app to find Catholic Mass when I travel and an app to track flights. I don't keep my phone on me. I don't like being accessible all of the time. When the free ride ends, I don't imagine I'll have a phone. I won't need to, enough people around me have one.

And that's my only issue with my kids having (any) phone. So mine don't. They can use mine if they wish, but they normally don't. They use my parents' or brother's because they have games and social media apps - and that's okay with me. What I don't like is that (mine) feel a constant need to respond to every beep, burp and blip that comes from the phone. It's Pavlovian! As a social scientist it intrigues me while also driving me NUTS.  To tie this in with the "I've been dumped by a friend" thread, I've dropped several friends who can't spend our time together engaged with me beyond what they're scrolling through on FB or Pinterest. It's like I'm there as their puppy, so they can have someone to show something to, and my role is to pant lovingly and rub up against them when they find something worthy of looking up at me to share. I don't need 100% focused attention, nor am I against phones. I just don't want to play second fiddle to one if we've made plans to be out together.

 

I do agree that for me I find the worst offenders to be adults. Some kids aren't great about it, but I attribute that more to "this is their generation" -- people my age and older have pre-existing social standards for decency and polite company. I hold them to those. 

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It's not normal for my girls or for the parents, but I admit we are oddballs. When out and about, I see as many adults glued to their phones as teens.

 

My girls don't get phones until they're driving. Until that time, there is a family TracFone they can take with them if they're out. They do spend time on their tablets chatting with friends, but out of the whole day, it's not much. I don't allow it during school hours.

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I'm just too cheap to have a smart phone, let alone give them to my teens.

Plus, I know I would be on it too much;)

 

We have a computer & a tablet they use at home.

Occasionally, when out they need to call me- they use the phone at the desk at the dance studio, or borrow a friend's parents cell (most of their friends don't have phones- our crowd is one income, no smart phones mostly).

 

My Tracphone died last month & I have not replaced it. I probably will, because I leave my medically fragile child home with a nurse 1-2 times a week. But in an emergency, she can call dh at work or on his work cell.

Edited by Hilltopmom

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I do know that my brother got his 12 year old a smart phone for Christmas. One of the reasons is that all but two people in his class had one. According to my brother it is just the way it is. 

 

 

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It occurs to me we need to worry not just about our kids' problems but the problems of those being raised completely differently.

 

First, I disagree with this. I have plenty to worry about in terms of my own kids, I don't need to borrow the problems of others. That doesn't mean that if a friend of one of my kids is going through something I would turn my back, but generally I don't think it's a good idea to intervene with other families when the kids are obviously cared for. That's what leads to mommy wars. 

 

It seems to me you are generalizing about something you perceive to be a societal problem based on one interaction. For example, perhaps this kid's parents set clear boundaries and he thought he could get away with something while away from home. I don't know. I also think there are many benefits to texting that can be overlooked by someone who just wants to see the negatives. I've always been shy but I'm not afraid to express myself in text...if texting had been around when I was a kid maybe it would have helped me come out of my shell. 

 

And I don't think it's a homeschool versus public school issue either. I've seen plenty of homeschooled kids who are absorbed in their phones and plenty of public schooled kids who couldn't care less. I think it's just an individual preference thing. 

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First, I disagree with this. I have plenty to worry about in terms of my own kids, I don't need to borrow the problems of others. That doesn't mean that if a friend of one of my kids is going through something I would turn my back, but generally I don't think it's a good idea to intervene with other families when the kids are obviously cared for. That's what leads to mommy wars. 

 

 

 

???

 

I think what she means here--and I know it's what I mean :) -- is that while we go about raising our kids outside of the mainstream, almost everyone else (by dint of BEING in the mainstream) develops completely different paradigms with expectations, "givens," and ideals separate from our own. Therefore, it makes it more difficult (possibly? this is the question) to find your footing, or your tribe.

 

I don't think she's wondering if she should police other people's choices.

Edited by OKBud
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My dc use their phones a lot. I will call them on it if they are being rude. I think it's easy to forget what they have when they use a smartphone. Along with calls and texts, my kids use it for-

a calendar, a notepad, a metronome, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a pedometer, a book, a video camera, a camera, a microphone, and tons of other useful things. While my dc use it for games and goofiness, I think it's still worth having.

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It occurs to me we need to worry not just about our kids' problems but the problems of those being raised completely differently.

 

Since you're feeling all philosophically... To what end would you worry? What would be the function of this worry? What information should be accepted into this conglomeration of behaviors, worrisome or not? 

 

 

 

My personal answers: The only end is to either do something for others, or change the way you do things for your kids. Both of these should require more information than the readily available, emotionally manipulative, hand-wringing-yet-ever-profitable trope about "kids these days." I include information like how my kids respond to and relate with others. Specifically. The trend among others is never the only trend, and while it's good to know what's going on in order to avoid pitfalls, it's also good to know what's going on to know from whom to take inspiration. Today's kids are more tech savvy for sure, which includes with it a remarkable, and probably unforeseen consequence of social justice, both local and global. I find that enormously rewarding, and feel like that's a good "price" to pay to say goodbye to the good old days (which always look better through nostalgia lenses). Those days existed on the backbone of some unacceptable oppression, and if not shutting up is the first, knee-jerk alternative to coerced silence and self-censorship, I can be patient while the nation figures out just how much to share is good and healthy, as well as recognizing how and when silence can be a matter of strength and integrity. In short, I'm not too worried about that. I'm not hopeful either, as I think our generation is setting our kids and grand-kids up for some terrible problems that could be avoided if we worked with a practical goal in mind, rather than an amorphous desire to appease a belief (any belief) simply because it's genuinely and deeply venerated. But I'm not worried about a generation being raised with amenities unknown to generations previously. After all, humanity figured out how to survive the influence of the printing press, the steam engine, electricity, and women having the audacity to wear trousers and demand the right to vote, surely we will survive the influence of computer technology. 

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Same here.  I didn't think how we were raising our kids was that different, until I crawled out from under my rock and realized that most kids have smartphones, unlimited internet access, and unlimited social media access.  It results in a different kind of kid, with a different focus and different demeanor, and I'm thankful I have the kids I have when I see what social media and their screens done to some other kids.  Our pastor's child was over for dinner one night and I had to tell her to put her phone away at the dinner table, because she wasn't able to look up from her screen and engage.  I wondered the whole time how someone of 13 can not know that looking at your phone while at a dinner table with companions was rude.

I know that I raise my kids differently than parents around me. Quite different. I'm okay with that. So far so are my kids. 

 

My oldest is 15 and *gasp* does not have a smart phone. He has no need for one. We also don't have a video game device in our house. They do play minecraft on their kindles and laptop. 

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I worry about my niece, who has a cell phone and limited parental guidance and supervision, using things like the app "meet me". Maybe I am borrowing trouble but given her risk factors, naïveté and desperation for peer acceptance, I think it's a reasonable concern. We set limits when she is here which she responds well to but that isn't the case at either of her parents' homes.

 

My son is getting my old iphone this month. He will be catching the bus and transferring downtown and I want to be sure I can easily locate him if he rides to the end of the line or whatever. He's proven himself with his iPad to not overdo it on screens or to be interested in social media. He also grasps fully safety basics like don't give out your name and address that seem to elude my niece.

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What I find so weird about teens today is that they're constantly on their phones WHEN THEY'RE SOCIALIZING IN-PERSON. Sure, I used to chat on the phone with my friends (what girl didn't?) but when I was hanging out with my friends at the mall/roller skating rink/movies/etc. (can you tell I was an '80's kid, LOL?) we actually PAID ATTENTION TO EACH OTHER. What a concept!

Edited by Mrs. Hound

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