Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Technology – A privacy invasion? July 6, 2012

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video cameraI love technology don’t get me wrong.  It makes our lives easier on a daily basis, it has revolutionised the way we communicate, and no doubt will continue to make incredible advances that we haven’t even dreamt about by the end of the year (one might have said decade but it moves so fast I have to condense the time frames)!

And just as well I love technology – with two teenage boys who can’t get enough of it, and their sister, a true “digital native” at only 8 years old – it’s very present in our lives.  It’s fair to say Sister of a Man-Child’s use of technology took a quantum leap when Father Christmas generously gave her an iPod Touch last Christmas (Nintendo DS are SO last century)!  As a result, she was no longer reliant on borrowing the iPad, or one of our iPhones, or the Macbook, but had free reign of the App store – she was like a kid in a lolly shop.   Thankfully, the bulk of them are free, and she’s been trained to ask if she can download one that costs money (yes even 0.99c – it’s the principal of it), so it’s relatively under control.

Of course the clever iPod Touch does everything the iPhone does in a wireless environment, except make phone calls.  I mentioned when she got it that having put it under my iTunes account (very logical at the time), I now have the joy of “sharing” all the conversations she has with her friends via iMessage.  Which can be insightful, but also very annoying when you’re in the office and your phone keeps pinging you every time another inane comment from an 8-year-old enters cyberspace!!!

My daughter is now so with the program, she can thumb type faster than me, and create a video on her iPod in about 1 minute flat.  No wonder YouTube has so much content on it – they create it constantly.

Sister of a Man-Child discovered the joys of Face Time too, so you can often hear her and a friend talking to each other about absolutely nothing really, for 30 mins or so.  It’s their version of a telephone call naturally, but you can’t pick your nose discreetly or roll your eyes when it’s on video can you?  I was recently stuck at home for the day, having survived the hideous man-cold that is doing the rounds at the moment (it’s earned that title, it’s not a nice gentle cold that a woman-cold would be, it’s a dead set bastard of a thing that king hits you and bang – you’re out for the count).  Anyway, I had kindly said my daughter could spend the day at home with me while I worked with my germs close by, instead of sending her off to holiday program.

Trouble first set in on the Sunday night – she was reluctant to give up her iPod Touch, and kept wanting to chat to her friend well past bed time.  Alarm bells rang when I noticed the message on my phone between them agreeing to FT (short for Face Time) each other at 10pm!!!!  Thank you, there’ll be none of that, I’ll just take that iPod for the night.  I was pleased to see her friend tell my daughter “Shore (sic) but I think it’s a bit naughty to do that”  – yes it is!!!!

Of course by 8am the next morning they were both up, so what better time for FT.  Next thing you know I am in the kitchen in my PJ’s (after a weekend of man-cold it’s very fair to say I was not looking my best) and I hear my daughter’s friend, and then her mother, saying “Good morning” to her.  What the?  Can’t I even have breakfast in peace?  Nope, it’s like Big Brother in our house.  They’re hearing AND seeing what we’re doing in the morning, and vice versa.  I think not.  I explain to my daughter that she is welcome to share her life via FT to anyone she cares, but that I have limits for our family.  And that means I don’t really want to see the school mums over breakfasts – regardless of how well we know each other.  It’s just a little too invasive for my liking.  But then again, maybe that’s just me.  I admit it, I absolutely HATE Big Brother, and always will. Obviously I am not Gen Y or Z!!!

So that’s our life with technology at the moment.  There are days that I have to tell Sister of a Man-child “no more screen time”, which she knows means don’t touch the iPod, iPhone, or Macbook again today.  So of course she’ll plonk herself in front of the TV – not yet an iTV, but coming soon to a home near you!  Am I the only one who hates this invasion of technology sometimes?  Do you set limits in your house?

I have written about technology before:  Fighting the Technology Tsunami.  It’s an uphill battle!


Men-Children and Man-Colds June 22, 2012

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tissuesIt’s been a long week in the Man-Child house, with both boys suffering illnesses.  One of the boys started with a head cold and developed gastro on top of it – so yes a day off school, a no-show at rugby, and pretty crook.  Of course that didn’t stop his GF (did I mention it’s back on following the world’s shortest break-up) from coming over to infect herself with his germs – are they mad?

His twin brother was 100% sure he was going to catch something – I think he practically convinced himself he would get the gastro bug also.  Fortunately he didn’t but he did get a good dose of the man-flu, the serious variety.  Of course it started on Friday night, and when he mentioned he had a party to go to I gave him a quick talking to about the need to have an early night and get some rest so he could play school football the following morning.  In other words I said NO you can’t go out.

So you can imagine our surprise whilst out with friends when we received a text message followed by a phone call from man-child telling us he was indeed going out and would be home later.  Yep, have I mentioned before how obedient my teenage boys are?  He got an instant lecture from me by phone and a guarantee that if he chose to go out I didn’t care how sick he was the following morning, he would be fronting up to footy.  Naturally, he went out.  So I had great delight in waking him up at 6.30am the following morning to drop him at the school bus to head to Geelong for his footy game.  He was pretty sick I have to admit, and if it wasn’t for the night before I would have said he didn’t need to go, but I was determined to stick to my guns.  I picked him up in the afternoon from school, a washed out wreck who crashed and burned.  Call me mean, but sometimes they need a lesson in tough love.  He’s still sick a week later, so it really was the man-flu in his case.

Before you think I am totally lacking any sympathy, I have done several drug runs to the chemist.  I’ve also suggested he head to the doctor, just in case it’s gone to his chest and needs antibiotics.

Thankfully the rest of the household has so far been spared the man-cold, and let’s hope it stays that way.  Meanwhile both the boys will be well just for the beginning of their THREE week school holidays – lucky them.  This holiday completely caught me by surprise, as I thought they still got three weeks in September, but no they’ve moved it to July to align with many other schools.  Whoops.  No vacation plans, sorry boys.  Happy holidays at home over winter…..

Have you endured a man-cold this winter?  Are you full of sympathy, and the master of chicken soup?  Or would you have sent him to footy unwell?  I’d welcome your thoughts.

We have survived illness before – when they were babies on holidays.  It made for a good story – read about it here:  The Holiday from Hell.