We found the solution to all parenting issues. One word folks: iPad. It’s as if Moses himself came down from Mt. Sinai with the commandments on a digital tablet. Sometimes Jenn and I need a moment or two for ourselves, to relax or talk without interruption. Food, especially the sweet variety, does the trick but doesn’t last long enough. Maybe if we had taffy or some other equally jaw exhausting confection. TV is a close second but there aren’t too many movies Penelope will watch right now. But the iPad is loaded with puzzles, alphabet apps, counting games, and an entire folder of Toca Boca that Penelope can lose herself for hours. We could nickname her Flynn, for the Jeff Bridges character that gets sucked into his own program in TRON. The girl disappears.
It’s fitting I suppose. I work in the technology field. I see the addiction of handheld devices everyday and participate to some degree. I can’t imagine going back to a flip phone. How many people can? A co-worker said the choices were so limited we’ll be calling smartphones ‘phones’ soon. Even my father-in-law*, a vocal opponent of smartphones, flip-flopped and got an iPhone. Thanks Steve Jobs. Thanks RIM. Thanks Google. (No thanks Microsoft.) We acquiesce to your demands for constant connectivity to the Greater Consciousness called “INTERWEBS”.
One morning I was flipping gluten-free flapjacks when I glanced over at Penelope, straddling her chair and putting her arms on the table. She hadn’t said a word but I knew what was coming. I looked at Jenn and mouthed the words “SHE’S GOING TO ASK FOR THE iPAD. SAY NO!”. The O shape barely left my lips before Penelope said “I wanna play with the iPad”. If we gave in Penelope would have been plugged in like a someone out of the Matrix. We said “No”.
“BUT I WANNA PLAY WITH THE IPAD!”
Are these the same brain receptors that lead to crack addiction? Should I be worried? I know parents whose children play on the iPad all day, surfing YouTube and playing Temple Run. Another family is contemplating a tablet purchase for their 4.5 year old. I’ve contemplated the investment in a tablet for Penelope just so we can use our iPad without her insistence on playing with it.
I’ve asked myself is it a disservice keeping technology from Penelope? If she grow up unplugged from the digital life will she be less equipped to deal with daily life? If her time on electronic media is limited and she develops a desire for intimate and fulfilling conversation who will she speak to?
Whatever we choose, we must make a decision soon. The addiction is growing day by day. I called Jenn yesterday morning and all I heard in the background was “I WANT THE IPAD NOW!”, over and over. Oh Penelope, I understand. You and a bazillion other people want their iPads RIGHT NOW.