Saturday, September 24, 2011

My 8-Year Old Addict

I hate to admit it, but my son is an addict at age 8. What's his addiction? Screens. Any type of screen: computer, TV, iPod, DVD player in the car, my smart phone, Nintendo DS, camera. Nothing else quite compares to a screen in Jack's world.

I realize that I am partly to blame for this addiction. It's super easy to just let him watch one more show, finish up that video game, or play a game on my phone. He's the youngest and has spent far too much time waiting on his older sister and brother as well as waiting on parents who have gotten busy with work or chores or helping one of his sibling's with homework. To help pass the time, enter the screen. He goes to incredible lengths to find a screen. Any screen will do. I'm beginning to think that he would even watch a test pattern.

Now that he's 8 years old, he's become really sneaky about his screens. He will tell me he's reading in his room but he's secretly watching The Simpson's on his iPod. My Android phone will open up to a slew of odd, but distinctively Jack, photos that he took while I thought he was watching his brother's football game. The game Angry Birds, which mysteriously appeared on my phone one day, is Jack's other calling card. He begs to watch a Tom & Jerry DVD on a 10-minute car. When I return home from dropping one of Jack's siblings at a practice, the television in the kitchen will be blaring Phineas and Ferb, but no one is in sight. Just a trail of Goldfish cracker crumbs on the floor leading down the stairs. Hmmm...I wonder who was here?

But now that school has started, Jack has been forced to curtail his screen addiction, having to sit in his 3rd grade classroom all day. Much to Jack's disappointment, the X-Box disappears during the school week. Whatever will Jack do to fill his time? Thankfully his amazing teacher has introduced him to something better—silent reading time. It's now his favorite time of the day. Okay he is reading The Monster from the Black Lagoon series but at least he's reading, and it's holding his attention! Better than being a TV-head.

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