Kids don’t know how to walk away, disconnect

Posted in 21st century parent
by Lorain County Moms

By Janet, Canada Moms Blog

I have a 10½-year-old living in my house. Given his recent behavior, which may or may not include flipping his skater boy bangs around and using the word “sick” in unfamiliar contexts, I have been paying particular attention to teenagers lately. Careful field observation of this species in their natural environment has revealed some interesting trends: they prefer to roam in packs; they overuse the word “like” in everyday conversation; and they text near constantly.

I just don’t get it. I don’t comprehend the need to always be in touch. I don’t appreciate why one would need to be texting on one’s smartphone while sitting at a table with a bunch of friends actively engaged in conversation. It feels like multitasking gone too far.

Are you imagining me now sitting on my plastic-covered furniture grumbling about whippersnappers and stubbornly refusing to return the neighborhood children’s balls when they land on my property? That’s not entirely accurate. I am an enthusiastic user of social media. I know my way around a Blackberry. In fact, I used to work as a product marketing manager for a company in the mobile and wireless sector. I embrace technology and its entire delicious, chocolaty-covered spectrum of benefits.

Here’s what I don’t want to happen, though: I don’t want my kids to grow into adults who feel twitchy when nobody is communicating with them. I want them to take a walk without chatting on a cell phone. I want them to stand in a line without updating their Facebook status. I want them to sometimes be bored, using that feeling to give impetus to creativity and action.

Perhaps I’m being a hypocrite. It’s true that I don’t text, but I’m no stranger to the spurious Twitter update. Still, I do know how to walk away and disconnect. I thoroughly enjoy time to myself, unplugged and marinating in my own thoughts. With three kids, I actually have cravings to that effect sometimes. OK, a lot of the time. Okay, every single day.

I realize that I can’t prevent my kids from texting incessantly once they become teenagers. I don’t see myself funding that effort but I’m sure that a part-time job will give them the means to support their own habits. And texting probably also comes in handy for parents who need to get a hold of their offspring who are off wandering with their pack. However, noticing teenagers in action lately, their heads down, their thumbs flying, makes me wonder whether we are raising a generation of awesome multi-taskers or whether the next wave of adults are going to be completely uncomfortable with the notion of ever being on their own.

This is an original post from the Canada Moms Blog (

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