Eating & Electronics...Middle school lunchroom socialization?

My sixth grade son, Maddux, is a pretty quiet kid.  Unless we're in the car all alone, then he opens up.  But, last week, while we were driving home from Taekwondo, he was unusually silent, so I asked him if anything was "up".

After a brief pause...

"Mom, do you think Dad would let me to get the latest iTouch with my birthday money?  Everyone at school has an iPhone or an iTouch.  I am like the only guy at my lunch table who has an old, outdated (handed down by his brother Allen-Michael) iTouch, so I normally have to watch someone else play their game or just sit there because everyone else is on their technology."

I knew this would come at some point.  In fact, part of me is amazed it didn't happen sooner.

So, here I am, the mom who does NOT want to be "that mom" who tells the kid he can't use his money to buy the latest electronic device.  And yet I don't agree with my son spending his lunch hour sucked into a screen instead of having face-to-face conversation with his friends.

Don't misunderstand, I get that technology is a part of life.  Hell, I am on the computer typing and using social media more than even I want to admit, but why isn't [middle school] lunch time a place for kids to talk with one another? 

I am sure my son is not the only kid at the middle school who feels like he's gotta update his gadget in order to be socially acceptable. 

Which makes me sad.

And angry.

It's not about the money, he's got it.  And we'd make him use his own to buy the iTouch.  It's the slippery slope of "bring your own technology" that the school is pushing on our kids.

That's right, I said the school is pushing technology on our kids. 

My daughter got her district issued iPad this year, my high schooler received his last year.  Maddux hasn't been given one yet, but it's coming.  You might be tempted to tell me, "You don't have to get the iPad, just don't pay the $40 insurance fee."  Yah, right and then my kid is the only one of 20+ in the class whose parents won't provide the instrument all the teachers are hyping.

What I want to know is how do the teachers feel about all of the technology they have to compete with on a daily basis?!

Once again, I understand technology is happening, our kids need to learn how to use it in their daily school life.  But keep it at school, okay?  And keep it out of the lunch room!  At least until high school.

The last time I bitched about this topic someone messaged me and asked me to stand up in front of the school board and represent the multitude of parents who felt same the way I did.

Guess who didn't show up...

I didn't go for the same reason I don't vote (did I just type that?  Oh my God, I am about to get crucified I can feel it coming...):

(a) It's easier for me to write my complaints than state them in front of others.  I am the kind of person who, once she's shared her opinion and "stirred the pot" so to speak, hopes someone else picks up the drama and runs with it. 

(b) it would require my going out of my way and spending an evening at a meeting I would likely find very boring, and

(c) is my little complaint even going to be heard or make a bit of difference against the school board who apparently has so much money it can buy iPads for all the kids in the district?

Here's my projection of what could happen if we continue to allow technology to run rampant in the school day...our children will become more self-involved, they will have a hard time making eye contact during important life events (like a job interview), they will continue to treat others less humanely, and we will wonder where we went wrong.

Keep technology in the classroom.  Keep lunch time for kids face-to-face conversations with one another.  No iPads at home so I don't have yet another device to police that infringes on our family time.

Thank you.

Kimberly Muench2 Comments