1 year later… or is it two? Maybe three. I can’t keep track it’s been so long since I’ve posted and not with any regularity even when I did post the last time. I’ve decided to get my butt in gear again and try to do a better job on my blog, and what better time than when our family is starting our first challenge together.
If you’ve read any of my blog posts before then you know I have an autistic daughter who happens to be a genius at technology. I’m not doing the mom thing and over-exaggerating her skills in this area – inflating the truth to make her sound more impressive than she is. When I say she’s got skills, I mean, the girl has got SKILLS! A few examples to give you an idea:
- When she was 7 she cracked the security code on a friends mother’s kindle so that they were able to make in-app purchases.
- When she was 9 she was at a friends mom’s house that was having trouble setting up their Wii, something she had never seen before (we have a playstation that her dad set up). In less than 20 minutes, she had it set up and connected to the internet so they could access whatever you access on the internet from your Wii.
- We put OurPact™ on all of our kids devices to control the amount of time they can use their phones or iPods™ and what apps they can access when… she was not only able to figure out how to backdoor unload the program from her phone but also able to do it in a way so that she stoped it from sending me an alert that she had unpaired it.
- She figured out a way how to still access her restricted apps when her device was paired with the OurPact™ app.
- She has broken the parental controls that we put on our TVs, cable and online purchases.
- She has figured out how to get access to our computers without needing to sign in as the main user.
- She even figured out how to make her own credit card… she was discovered doing that before she got to the illegal part.
Basically, she is too smart for us to even have the slightest idea how to stop. Her autism diagnosis, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorder and mild depression make it that much harder for her to be able to control herself. Technology is her main outlet of calm and the one thing she can control and manipulate and to quiet all of the things fighting against her in her brain. She has gotten to the point of her obsession with it, that she is 100% addicted. Her words, not just her dad and my observation. With most addictions you just stop and never do it again (over simplifying but you get the idea). With technology, we don’t have that option. She will eventually have to find a way to use technology and not let it take over her life. The world’s use of technology is only going to keep growing exponentially, and if she could use her powers for good and not evil, she could do some amazing things someday. I don’t even think my brain has the capacity or knowledge about technology to even be able to comprehend what she might be capable of accomplishing.
But first… we are all… all five of us… doing an 80’s style technology detox. Starting tomorrow, we will be analog phones, no TVs, no computers, no iPods™. Basically, the rest of summer, we want to see a lot more of the activities Justin and I used to do as kids, and a lot less of the whining and complaining and even crying when technology is turned off (not the fire part of this photo, but the outdoor with friends part).
Photo above of William at camp learning how to make a fire – right out of an 80’s movie. Let’s hope this isn’t one of the activities he decides he wants to do in place of technology.
Here are the rules:
- Timing starts Tuesday am August 7th and goes through Monday September 3rd (that is when Peyton goes back to school)
- Mom and dad can use our phones and computers after kids go to bed if we have to work, get in touch with people or blog, but otherwise, once we walk in the door of our house – technology goes away for us too
- We are allowed to do a family movie night outside of the house once a week (I can’t imagine we will need it that often but seemed fair): movie in the park, go to a movie or movie in our backyard with the neighbors
- Kids will be able to check in as mom and dad deem necessary on their iPods™ or phones to set up hang out time with their friends – if they are able to use the analog phone to call a friend instead – all the better
- TV remotes will be locked up for the entire time period, even the one for mom and dad’s room (I’m not sure how I’ll do with this one)
flashback to my first work phone, had to put this on here for the kids that don’t know what an analog phone looks like.
When we get to the other side of allowing technology back in the house, we are going to go to 15 minutes a day for kids to check in with friends and then no additional time outside of that until Friday after school through Sunday at 4pm. Basically, no technology during the school/work week so we are able to focus on homework and after school activities/responsibilities.
Here are my predictions: this is going to be harder for the adults than the kids, we are going to have some tough days at the start, I’m going to go into withdrawl myself (I LOVE TV and movies).
Here’s hoping we find a little better balance in this tech obsessed world and can start to set a better example for our kids on what a healthy relationship with technology looks like.