So far I have managed to resist a “crackberry” (although I’d love one), but I think it would be really detrimental to my relationship with my daughter – who already thinks I spend far too much time online.
My name is Sasha and I’m an email addict
Just like an alcoholic, this is not something to be proud of. But unlike someone at an AA meeting, I don’t have a proven 12-step programme that guarantees results – yet!
I work from home – which is mostly great as it gives me the freedom and flexibility to work in my PJs if I want to, and spend time walking the dogs when others are stuck in traffic for the good part of an hour each day…
But it also means that I am never unplugged
Granted, I could shut down my laptop at a set time every day, but what if Justin Bieber was seen on a romantic date with Jennifer Aniston, or my best friend in the UK cut her hair and updated her facebook profile – and I missed it?
The laptop in my house is booted up at about 06h30 and stays on for about 12 hours every day. This means that breakfast (and sometimes lunch) is eaten over the keyboard – most days.
I try to finish work for the day before I fetch my daughter from school but I sneak surreptitious peeks at my inbox all afternoon and have to be really disciplined at homework time so that she gets my full attention.
“Sis on you,” I hear most of you thinking. Surely quality time with your child is more important that staying online to chat to your friends? I’m not proud of my addiction, but I also know I’m not alone.
There are many moms out there who text their way through school galas, are glued to their laptops during ballet lessons and even talk on the phone while driving precious cargo home each day.
We have to break the habit and put family time back where it belongs: at the top of our priorities
When your child is trying to tell you something really important about her day and you’re not listening, she starts to believe that the computer/phone/iPad is more important than her.
I read recently that children are okay with competing for your time when you have to load the washing machine or feed the dogs: they accept that household chores have to be done and don’t see those as the enemy.
But they’re not stupid. SMSing your friend about the Woolies sale or changing your Facebook status does not constitute an emergency – or even something that they should have to wait for – before you can give them some attention.
The turning point was yesterday when my daughter glared at me and said “I wish your computer would explode!”
I have made a decision: my computer is going to be shut down by lunchtime each day, and not used on weekends or before my daughter goes to sleep at night. (Evenings should actually be for spending quality time with our partners, if we have them, but that’s another issue for discussion.)
We don’t want to raise children who see computers as their competition for love and attention, nor do we want teenagers who see technology as their main method of communication – because they learned it from Mom or Dad.
As parents we are the leading example for our children of how to behave
Just as we don’t want to produce binge-drinking and promiscuous young adults, we try to lead by example. So too should we be leading by example when it comes to social networking – if we don’t want to produce a generation of socially dysfunctional, technology addicts.
When it comes to all the good things in life – like good food, wine and sex – responsibility and moderation is the key. Surely the same should hold true for email and Facebook?