Post-pool date, I caught up with my girl about tech. I asked her about the nature of her relationship with her phone, how she’s going to deal being without it for 2 weeks this summer while she goes to sleepaway camp, and how she thinks kids in my generation ever lived without it, a question that brought both of us to tears and belly laughs.
Today we’re talking tech so I just have to ask: are you in a romantic relationship with your phone?
(Laughs and shakes head).
I think I used to be. I used to be on it a lot more and I’m trying to steer away from being on it as much now. Especially during the school year, I’d play with it at break, I’d be on it at lunch, I’d use it when I got home, and I’d be on it right before bed. Now that it’s summertime, I have things I can be doing. I can go for bike rides, skateboard, read books, spend time with my family and like, a lot more that I can be doing.
Do you think adults are making much to do about nothing, or do you see drawbacks to tech?
I think that at some point you have to draw a line about the time you spend on technology, but adults can be a little overdramatic about tech. I think that’s because most parents didn’t grow up with tech, and since they have an idea of what they did as a kid, they want their children to imitate them. I think from an adult perspective, kids are on technology a lot, but because our generation is part of the iPhone era, we are just used to it be around and accessible. And we’ve watched our parents use it our whole lives. . . But some teenagers really are on social media all the time, so I guess, yeah. Yeah.
You recently gained access to an Instagram account though you still aren’t allowed to have Snapchat. How strong is FOMO for you?
Not really at all. I don’t follow people who are super duper active on social and I feel like FOMO happens more on Snapchat than it does on Instagram. I don’t get really scared about missing out on stuff. I like looking at my favorite celebrities’ Instastories, but I’m not on Instagram every day, I don’t post every day. I feel like there’s better things to be doing with my time. Nothing on there is so extremely intriguing to me that I could scroll for hours on end. I feel like my friends on Snapchat have serious FOMO because everything on there has a limit.
You’re going to a sleepaway camp in July and will be without tech for 2 weeks. What are you looking forward to? What are you dreading?
I’m actually looking forward to time away from my phone. I’m looking forward to not having to worry about replying to texts. I’ll just be able to do stuff without it for awhile and I won’t have the need to have it with me. But I’ll also miss being on it because I won’t be able to watch my favorite shows, or scroll through Instagram or text my friends back. You know it’s 2 weeks without my phone so that’s really hard. (Pause) Oh, and also a new season of Stranger Things will be coming out when I’m at camp and I won’t be able to watch it right away so that’s going to be really sad.
How do you think kids in my day survived without tech?
Well, you had to play outside. Play with sticks and stones and make mud pies. Live under a bridge, I dunno know. (laughs) Go to a skatepark, ride around town, go play with friends, walk down and wade in the creek, tromp around in the woods. Put your hair up in scrunchies, or fix it into one of those horrendous hairstyles, organize your Caboodle, play dress up. Coordinate little kid bike gangs and ride up and down the street. Jam out to Whitney Houston. (Pauses and smirks). Play with your siblings.
Mom takeaways: Technology is a constant struggle for adults and their children. Kids need boundaries, not bubbles. Don’t be afraid to go out on your own and say no to things like Snapchat if it seems too early to you, even if other families allow it for their kids. Give your teens alternatives to tech, like time spent together playing a sport or creating artwork. Accept that it’s part of their lives now, and allow it, with limits on days and times.