iFamily 2.0

Mar 06 | Tony | No Comments |

iFamily 1.0: Al Gore discovers the internet and plugs everyone in. iFamily 2..0: Steve Jobs creates the iDevice and stuffs at least one of them into the hot little hands of every man, woman and child on the planet.

A recent National Geographic had a picture of Kyrgyz nomads in a remote part of the world playing with apps on an iGadget while tending a flock of sheep. The cost of a phone is one sheep.

Closer to home, my 11-year-old daughter has had her iGadget surgically attached to her palm since it arrived during the holidays. The other day, she proudly announced that she has 127 apps and is on her way to 200. I am still trying to figure out how to use just one: GoogleMaps. Somebody, please…

So what does all this iBusiness mean for children, parents, and families? As a parent, I am overwhelmed, outgunned, and virtually (no pun intended) helpless against the Invasion of the iStuff. Not only have we lost the control-over-technology battle with our children, I am not sure we ever really had a fighting chance. It is not just in the culture or in the family. It now feels like it is in the DNA. Just try leaving your own iThing at home for a day. It is a bit of a surreal feeling.

It is harder and harder to carve out ‘quality time’ with children and family. Even when I can convince them, always begrudgingly, to shut their devices off or even just to take out their ear buds so that we can try and make some space for the potential for a conversation to spontaneously occur, then my own device starts ringing or alerting me to an incoming text message. ¡iCaramba!

I now live with a constant background level of worry and concern about the devices that now command a large portion of our children’s attention. I am impotent against this iOnslaught that has oozed into every crack and crevice of family life.

There is the illusion that I have some control over what my kids are exposed to. I could have adopted the “Just Say No” approach to iJunk, but they would have gotten their fix through their friends anyway, and I would have caught pure hell along the way for it. (My 11-year-old was already a pro at her device before she even unpacked it.)

I accept iDefeat. As I take my last iGasp, I knew that the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against me, and that resistance was futile. We have all been iAssimilated.

It is unconscionable that the best and brightest minds developing these products and marketing them directly to children have turned a blind eye to the needs of parents and families for some way to REALLY regulate them. Without a simple way to control them, we are relegated to the role of iPolice doing shakedowns and confiscating devices on a daily basis – all in the name of just trying to spend some quality un-iTime with our kids.

¡Ay Yay Yay! iGiveUp!

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