Sunday, 4 March 2012

How do you handle teenagers and technology.

My last child, my baby, turns into a teenager next month and for 3 weeks I will be the proud owner of 3 teenagers. Thank fully they won't all be in the house at the same time as my 19yo lives in the UK and arrives for a 2 week visit on May 2nd having turned 20 during his flight here.

This will be the 5th time for that 'Kevin and Perry' moment in our household (I have 2 step children, both in their 20's now)

I don't actually recall it being 'that' bad as dealing with 5 kids with varying needs, interferance from ex partners and several sets of grandparents, I'm not sure any more if my children became teens over night, if it just creeped up on us all.

My step daughter is profoundly disabled so her milestones hasn't follwed the normal routine. Her milestones were walking aged 8 and her ability to sit in a cafe without grabbing food off our plates.

So what makes teenagers so difficult to manage/control? Is it just their hormones? Is it because there are 5 of them and they're constantly fighting for attention? Or is it peer pressure?

No, No, No, No, No. I won't have any of that used as an excuse. I blame one thing and one thing only, TECHBLOODYNOLOGY.


We have 3 televisions in our house. The main one in the lounge with DSTV/SKY which you can record on and pause live TV. There's a TV in the kids lounge with the same channels, but no recording facilities and no HD and a portable one in the conservatory which I usually watch DVDs on (we used to have it in our bedroom, but it drove me mad with hubby finding things to watch, falling asleep and leaving me wide awake looking for the remote to switch it off)

Our 4 boys have never had TVs in their bedrooms, I've never agreed with it, watching TV to fall asleep with actually in my opinion makes them stay up later, they can access adult channels, even on the old terristeral system and it just causes too many arguments (there's one going on right now about watching the main TV as both HAVE to watch their programmes in HD)

Access to the internet.

We bought a 2nd hand desktop in 2000 with dial up internet, it wasn't that appealing to the kids, they were too young, there was no facebook, bebo etc so it was rarely used, more of a word processer for my studies and the occassional education game that failed to load.

In 2002 we got broadband and the trouble started...'I want a go, it's my turn' so along with the desktop I purchased a laptop so I could work in peace and the kids could play on the computer, which by now was really a gaming machine. Xbox, playstations arrived after the hand held consoles had been purchased by ex partners and grand parents which hubby and I objected to due to the arguments caused among the boys and missing games and chargers that were borrowed and not replaced.

The eldest child now 22 didn't own a laptop until he left home aged 18, which he bought himself, the next child nearly 20, bought himself a laptop whilst he was still living at home with his christmas money, the one now aged 17 had a desktop for his 16th after saving his birthday and christmas money and the now 12 yo owns 4 laptops, yes 4...his older brothers have donated theirs to him as they've replaced and upgraded them and the child is a bloody genius, he's taken them apart and rebuilt 1 thats works 100% and has far greater capabilities than anything we own.

Mobile phones

The biggest bone of contention in our house, ever.
Eldest was bought one by his mother so she could keep in touch with him i.e. tell tales on the family of ear wigged conversations to throw back at us in court. It was removed from his possession and anyway he kept losing it, rarely took it with him and it was rarely charged. He was 11 and no way does an 11yo NEED a mobile phone. He then got himself another one aged 15, lost it, another, another, another and now aged 22 he doesn't own one he CBA.
Next had one aged 15 on contract (his dad pays it) I objected but then what rights do I have?
Next one had an old phone aged 15 as he was always out at sports matches, needing picking up at different times, using public transport on his own to travel to training session by train in Birmingham and having to catch several buses and walking a mile so it was decided a mobile phone WAS a necessity. When we moved to South Africa we couldn't get SIM cards so for a year there weren't mobile phones, I managed to get a PAYG and hubby had a work phone and then finally after a few months we got 2 more SIM cards, fixed 2 old nokia phones and the 2 youngest were able to use them. They moaned about the phones being old and it was embarrassing they couldn't access facebook.
On their return to the UK in december one returned with a Blackberry the other with a Samsung.

Each child has complained that they didn't have x x x until they were much older. I remember complaining I had to wait till I was 14 to get my ears pierced yet my sister had hers done aged 11 and the same with going to youth club and coming home at 8pm. So I guess there's no real difference with how teenagers behave, I guess it's just about different things.

I think I've finally understood my mother who spent years listening to me complain 'it's not fair' and her reply of 'wait till you have children of your own' which has now become 'wait til you get grandchildren and you'll buy them the stuff you know their parents don't want them to have as a grandparent you only have the fun times'

So I'm just waiting now to 'lie in the bed' I've made for myself by backing down/giving in and letting them have more stuff (please note it's not us buying the stuff, we just provide the internet, which is regulary switched off as a punishment)

Their next quest is to get anything 'I' related and they now think they have a right to it all, because of the path technology has taken, but I'm standing firm. They both have a phone, xbox and Wii, access to the internet and constantly complain that I have an ipod, a Galaxy tab, a mobile and a laptop and 'it's not fair' but I'm the adult, I earned the money (well hubby does) and life isn't fair and as for their reaction? Is it because their teenagers? Is it because of peer pressure? or is it because I deny them their basic human rights to technology?


  1. I totally agree with your theories on technology. It has replaced any interaction with parents, peers and grandparents and can be a source of great worry and stress. However, I dug my heels in for years with madam. No phone, no laptop, tv in room was allowed (although sky card removed at 9pm) etc etc. Eventually I had to give in though as the laptop especially became something the school 'assumed' they had access to so all homework was to be typed and printed out (we don't own a printer so that's the next thing I assume) at papas expense. She spent all afternoon on my laptop and husband who isn't bothered by technology would then spend all evening on it. I used to have to ask to borrow my own laptop so I gave in and bought her a netbook for her birthday! Its on the condition all social networking is left open and acessable by us at any time. Then at christmas I gave in to the phone situation and she got a blackberry. Up until then she had a basic , phone and text phone that was PAYG and we kept unless she was going out. So now she is in touch with everyone all the time. I'm waiting for the brain rot to set in. I hate how it distances them from the rest of the family unit. She never talks to us, just sits typing or texting. It drives me nuts! She's now been told the wifi goes off at 10pm and her tv card is removed then too. If she wants to 'read' for an hour before lights out then fine but no technology. (I must be the worlds most prehistoric cruel mum eh?)

    1. You're not a cruel mum, I think 'us' parents need to exert ourselves more with our children and remind them these items are luxuries and not basic human needs.