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Upsetting the Apple cart: iPod touches a nerve with children

Date

Amanda Sheehan

I wanted my children back, the iPod held them hostage.

I wanted my children back, the iPod held them hostage.

I have hidden my children's iPod. For good. Last weekend, I snatched it away from them and hid it in the back of our linen closet. It's under the towels and far enough away that little hands and arms won't be able to reach it. I did this amidst much screaming and begging for mercy. Neighbours must have feared they were bearing witness to the most disgusting physical abuse. But I was fuelled with the determination that only a desperate parent can understand, and confiscate it I did.

My reasons for taking such drastic steps were simple: I wanted my children back. The iPod had held them hostage since last Christmas. Santa, in perhaps not his smartest moment, only delivered one, for the whole family to "share". I had visions of us enjoying downloading our favourite music from the iTunes store, but my children had other ideas and began requesting that we download the various apps that they had been watching their friends tinker with from a distance for years. So, somewhat innocently, we conceded and bought a few. And then the chaos started.

They were addicted from day one. Initially my husband and I told each other not to worry too much, that it was just the novelty that held them firmly in its grasp. Fast forward a few months and their enthusiasm had not waned. In fact, it had only intensified to the point where, once they got on it, it was almost impossible to get the gadget away from them. 

Now, at this point, I can almost hear some readers scoffing and admonishing my obvious lack of parental ability, judging me for not being able to set and enforce simple guidelines for the use of this gadget (seriously, do you even have children?) Why, you are probably asking, did I not simply enforce a system whereby each child was allocated a set time for use of the iPod each week and then remove it from them when that time was up? Sounds simple, doesn't it? And, in a perfect world, it would be a great idea. Only it didn't work for us. Here's why: once they held that wretched device in their hands, they simply refused to let go. No amount of threats, bribery or reasoning would coerce them into surrendering it. After half an hour of playing on it, I found they were so riled up and engaged in their game that they found it almost impossible to disengage and go back to reality. 

And then there were the fights. One child always thought that the other had been granted an extra minute or millisecond than they had and proceeded to go insane with the injustice of it all. The wronged party would beg for just one extra minute and the remaining siblings would howl in objection. Sound awful? It was. Exhausting? You bet. 

That tiny screened device was coveted by my children with the intensity a drug addict reserves for cocaine. It brought out a side of my children that I got tired of seeing. An ugly side. And the worst part was that if they weren't playing on the iPod, they were completely unable to think of anything else to do. That darned device seemed to render them brain-dead.

A fantastic way to keep them quiet and occupied? I guess so. But something I want my children to become all-consumed by? Never!

One week on and I could not be more happy with my decision to hide the iPod. Recent news reports that Australian children are the laziest in the world have provided my ultimate vindication. We're back into reading books, playing card games, walking the dog and getting our homework done without too much ado. I have my children back. And that rotten iPod is gone for good.

Amanda Sheehan is a freelance writer.

101 comments so far

  • Did you mean an iPod or an iPad? No need to publish the comment, just thought it looked like an iPad in the photo and sounded like you were talking about an iPad in the article.

    Totally agree with what you say, whichever device.

    Commenter
    helpful
    Date and time
    June 02, 2014, 8:10PM
    • Amanda, what were you thinking - you hid the iPod!!
      But surely, the iPad and iPod are God's gift to parents - they occupy the children and stop them pestering their long suffering parents.
      You have to see a therapist - and soon.
      You are not well, you poor misguided petal.

      Commenter
      Howe Synnott
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 5:55AM
    • Does it really matter. They are all computing devices. Children should be supervised when it comes to their use, whether it be Apple, Android or Windows devices

      Commenter
      Which Device
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 6:30AM
    • The size of device is irrelevant. The pic is probably a stock image.

      Commenter
      Dell
      Location
      Desk
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 7:31AM
    • Yes, and the government has given every child one in the classroom. Most stupid thing I ever heard, we will have a nation of brain dead people soon.

      I already have four nephews who are adult and unemployable because they have spent their youth in this way. Yes, maybe the parents didn't do the right thing, but hey, not all parents are good at it, and this makes the kids so much harder to parent it seems.

      Let them engage with the world, not hide from it. And Yes, Howe, it may mean you have to spend your time doing things with them, but that is the joy of parenting.

      Commenter
      SartWen
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 8:57AM
    • I remember this happening with Nintendo; over 20 years ago for me :)

      Moderation is probably key here - good on you for being a responsible parent.

      Commenter
      Enraged Sock-puppet
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 9:49AM
    • @SartWen - Brain dead you say? Overweight and under-exercised maybe, but I really don't think these devices are the cause of stupidity when used properly. Myself and many of my friends went through school as computer nerds back in the 80's. Oddly enough most of those people were the most intelligent and most successful students.

      Commenter
      TheHawk
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 10:04AM
    • SartWen - oh nooooooo.
      Don't be so cruel - what about the tele? Huh, huh - please, can I call on the TV?

      Commenter
      Howe Synnott
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 10:09AM
    • Let them engage with the world, not hide from it.

      Electronic devices are also part of this world and whether it be an apple or any other electronic device, drug, food, person, behaviour etc. , education and moderation is the key.

      Avoidance, ignorance and a lack of education are a recipe for disaster.

      Commenter
      wonvsone
      Location
      melb, australia
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 12:42PM
  • Well done...I'm not brave enough...I dread the possible aftermath!! Although, my offspring sounds a little older than yours. My offspring is a pre-teen, a very precarious age I think...and any drastic action like that may engage his frontal lobes to produce a war campaign counter-move. No, we have tough negotiations in-place every day, similar to peace talks at the UN. From one hour a day, to twenty minutes...depending on the amount of homework and study, and depending upon the success of our peace talks. But I have to agree, if we got rid of this technology, we would have our children back: reading, playing, riding bikes and walking the dog.
    Not to get it in the first place helps...but then Santa likes children to keep up with the Jones'.

    Commenter
    united nations
    Date and time
    June 03, 2014, 5:51AM

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