As of today, the insta-tweet-face-tumblr-gram-twitter-pin-text-snapchatting party’s over at my house.

 

Time for the girls to read the copy of War and Peace I put on each of their pillows along with Valentine’s Day candy and cards to soften the blow.

 

“Do it. Block ‘em,” I said to the nice customer service man at AT&T. It was one of the most satisfying moments in my 15 years of motherhood, pulling the plug on my kids’ technology.

 

Yup, I did it.

 

As my mother would say, “I’ve had it up to here” with (insert blank.)

 

They are now in the Dark Ages after 9 pm on school nights, meaning no Internet, text or cell phone access until 7 am but then only until 8:30 am and then not again until 2:30 pm while they are in school supposedly learning, not texting under their desks. (It’s the E equivalent of passing notes.) Again, it shuts down at 9 pm. Weekends are free until midnight. And 911 is always available.

 

A friend asked if I wanted protection tonight when they find out their lives are “like so officially like over cuz like no one is like gonna be like cool with that you know cuz like everyone’s on social media like Mom.”

 

It was sweet to offer, but in the end, I have to man up and handle this one myself.

 

I already know what my response to them will be.

 

“Too bad!”

 

I wish social media and unlimited texting didn’t exist to this extent in the first place, but I can’t change the world, only my adaptation to it. And while I have two great girls, both of whom are top grade earners in addition to being respectful, responsible, well-adjusted, and happy despite their snippy teenage attitudes toward me sometimes, I say enough is enough.

 

Hang out with your friends in person. Get an after school job. Read more books. Clean the house. Take up a hobby. Do an after school sport. WALK THE DOG!

 

If you lived in Beijing, your parents would probably send you to Internet Addiction Boot Camp like this girl here.

 

boot camp

www.businessinsider.com

While we are not quite there yet, our family stats were somewhat shocking.

 

Take a look.

 

DAUGHTER ONE: Number of Texts sent this winter, NOT including i messages which go iphone to iphone. There’s no telling how many had flown back and forth on that platform but I’ll guess thousands more given that most of her friends have iphones.

 

 

December: 3,515 (Don’t forget we were on winter break.)

January: 492

February: 471

 

DAUGHTER TWO: Same thing as above.

December: 1,931

January: 977

February: 1,580 (and it’s only mid-month!)

 

 

MINE: (It’s only fair.)

December: 497

January: 722

February: 681

 

When trying to come up with a cut off number of texts they are allowed to send per month, I did a little research.

 

HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED:

 

The most recent study I could find is from 2011 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. It reported that kids between the ages of 12 and 17 text a median of 60 times a day — up from 50 in 2009.

 

Monthly, they sent an average of 3,417 texts a month, seven times an hour. Girls were the most verbose in their findings too — they send more than 1,000 more texts per month than boys.

 

Not surprisingly, girls take the lead as most frequent texters (a median of 100 a day, compared to 50 for boys), but boys were responsible for a greater increase from 2009 — they jumped from 30 texts daily.

 

Their voices aren’t as active as their thumbs, however, only 39% make calls daily. Those who texted the most were more likely to talk on the phone as well. Fewer than half of those surveyed, 35%, say they socialize face-to-face with friends outside of school. To me, that’s appalling.

 

I settled on 300 texts each per month. While it seems low, I think the payoffs will be huge in terms of having actual fun, as opposed to virtual fun.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

I really do love you,

 

Mom

cover photo: Healthylifestylesmt.com

13 Comments

  1. Wendy Fahrenthold says:

    Go Laura!!!!

  2. Ron Tutone says:

    High five Laura! It reminds me of a Christmas two years ago when I politely asked my kids to leave their electronics in the car so we can enjoy undistracted family time for a few hours. The reaction was worse than I had expected. Oldest daughter threatened to boycott the dinner while the three other siblings expressed similar unhappiness. But they all attended dinner and not a single smart phone or laptop could be seen or heard through out the house, including mine. It was a wonderful day and we really connected, like in the olden days. It was wonderful and I thanked my kids when they were leaving. Then they fessed up. They did have them but made sure to only use them in the bathroom! Honestly I didn’t mind because the goal was not to have Apple and Android take center stage. Mission accomplished.

    • Laura says:

      Really? In the bathroom? That shows you how addicted we become! Wow!
      There is really an Internet addiction camp in Beijing. Maybe we should start one in the US?

  3. Sheila Myers says:

    They are going to run through those 300 in a day. I did the same thing btw when my two girls were in middle school (they are now in their 20s). By the time my son hit middle school I forgot I did it, so he has had free reign. Although it is a good idea.

    • Laura says:

      One daughter had a meltdown, crying and saying her life was like totally over. The other didn’t really care. Glad I am not alone in the quest to put social media and texting in its place.

  4. Barbara says:

    Good for you! Hope it works. I did it in middle school, Tom did it in high school, but eventually got tired of paying the overage bills on the texts! Hope it works. Keep us updated on whether it does or doesn’t work.

    • Laura says:

      Snowflake seems to have turned out well either way. I think girls get way more caught up in the social media texting crap that boys do, although their numbers are going up too.

  5. Peter says:

    What’s a text?

  6. Gitte says:

    Laura, Fantastic!!!! I love getting your blogs they make me laugh and its so good to laugh
    I look forward to reading them! Hey now, go girl!!!

    • Laura says:

      Thank you! I encourage all parents to pull the plug– at least for a trial period. I worry that our kids won’t be able to find their ways out of paper bags if they don’t get some real life skills going on here.

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