By Cornelia Seigneur

We took our 12-year-old twins’ I-Pods away yesterday before church. Okay, I know I am sounding like the tough-love mom, but if I am  honest, my husband actually did the tough-parenting deed.

I am the one who complains to my husband about the over-use of I-Pods and other electronic devises of my kids. I talk about how I get frustrated with how they sometimes seem addicted to their I-Pods and how they hide out in their rooms with their I-Pods and how they click them in the car and in the house and at church and at school and now the final straw was they gave their 6-year-old brother their old Gameboy so now I am catching him secretively playing Gameboy.

So, I told my husband about the situation and how frustrated I was with my 6-year-old now hiding on me with his GameBoy and how he was not reading his books but instead playing electronics, so when my husband got back from his business trip to China this week, he did the tough love thing to take away the I-Pods. For good, it almost sounds like.

To see one of my 12-year-old twins almost in tears over the situation of course broke my heart but in the long run I see how addicted my kids have become to their little hand-held neon screens.

Okay, so I-Pods can be a good thing and my twins capitalize that. “Mom, there’s a Bible app I can use and get Bible verses all the time,” one of my twins tells me. As if that was reason enough to convince me to get their I-Pods last December, which we let them purchase with their own money, but it is crazy how it has taken over their lives in some ways.

I see other 11-and 12-year-olds at events with their I-Pods and cell phones, texting and surfing away, and I think it is a good time to re-think what electronics our children are using and how often. And at what ages we are letting them get used to having electronics at their disposal.

I saw another mom at my 6-year-old’s talent show last week and she mentioned how her 12 year old  has an I-Pod like my twins have (had!) and she mentioned her concern about the unlimited and un-monitored access to the internet and her concerns are real and reality and should not be overlooked.

Yet, I feel just as much a concern of the safety factor is the etiquette element of the use of hand-held electronic devices. To the point of addiction. Teaching our kids when to turn them off and when not to use them and when to not bring them along. And, as parents, we too have to be aware of etiquette with our handheld devices, i.e. our cell phones,  and we need to realize that we are setting an example for our children and we also need to realize that we are missing opportunities to talk with our children when we instead talk on our cell phones.

It’s like we need to be reminded of the reason we cell phones in the first place – for convenience. For emergencies. Let us go back to using them that way. With self-control.

And teach our kids by example.

Or, our kids will point out our etiquette—or lack thereof—while they are waiting to get their I-Pods returned to them.

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