iTouch: Don't say I didn't warn you

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Even though "everyone else has one", we've managed to be unwavering on the cell phone request(s!!) Although there are a million and one arguments from teens and parents alike why my child needs a phone, I'm just not buying it. Sure there have been a few random moments when I've thought "If he had a cell phone, I could just call." However, in those same moments, the common denominator has been that HE was supposed to check in with US. If he had possessed a cell phone then wouldn't the responsibility be off of HIM and instead on US?? Wouldn't I be calling him constantly asking "Where are you?" OK, off my soapbox. For now.

So about a month ago, Quinn had won a mountain bike in a raffle and sold it on Craigslist for $200. As soon as the cash was in his hot little hand, I fantasized a conversation in my head something like this: Mom, can you set aside this twenty bucks for my tithe and put the rest in my savings account? Ha! Instead I heard the words, "Can you take me to buy an iTouch?" Hmmmmmm. I knew it wasn't a phone. I knew he wouldn't have the ability to text on it. I thought it was just an oversized iPod with a touch screen. Little did I know.
Let's just say that upon our return trip from Target the boy didn't resurface for days. Apparently there are about a million and one "apps" to be downloaded from iTunes. Once we logged him on to our iTunes account we received emails with receipt after receipt itemizing every download whether purchased or free. The" 14 different sounds of farts is gross but understandable middle school boy humor. The "stealth grenade" sound that is supposedly not heard by old people's ear over the age of 30 is quite dumb. But then "text free" showed up on the screen. What?? He can text? Oh yes, right here in our own home from our WiFi. Can also hop on Gmail to check messages too. I had it in my head to track down Mr. Steve Jobs and give him a piece of my mind about his non parental control apps. But then again wasn't I the adult who drove the child to the store to make his purchase of this evil device that would obsess my child's world? Yes, that would be me. The mom who barks out orders about homework to her kids yet clearly neglects to take her own advice. Right here.
As I find him in his room frantically tapping on the keyboard playing games, listening to music and perfecting his body fluid sounds I have to remember: this is today's teen culture. The way they communicate is no different than all the hours we spent holed up in our rooms gabbing away on the telephone. You know, that contraption that had a cord and a dial that was (GASP!) attached to a wall????? And it drove our parents crazy. Mostly because they knew they needed to set some limits just as our kids do.
I am no longer ready to accuse Apple of all of their inventions causing more isolation. Because it's more about what we do with these electronics in our lives that determines whether they're a good or bad addition to your family. Still, I wish I would have been more prepared with my research before I had given in to this big purchase. Unlike a cell phone, there is no monthly cost to us and no contracts to sign. It truly belongs to him and was purchased with his own moolah. Now it's our job to encourage responsible use of it while in our presence.
I'm still praying it gets lost by summer's end.