Tips for Managing Your Child’s iPad Addiction.
[Originally published April 6, 2011.]
The key to managing your child’s iPad addiction is to SET BOUNDARIES so that the addiction doesn’t spill out of your house into public where people will judge you based on what they see of your child. It’s important to ALLOT TIME for your child to be witnessed by other parents when it (your child) is not devoted to the iPad’s incredible touchscreen. But doing your child’s HOMEWORK and taking it TO THE PARK for other parents to see it moving around aren’t enough.
For instance, are you aware that your child talks to other children and even adults about what it does with its time? Fact: There are probably a lot of adults who already know about your child’s iPad addiction, because your child doesn’t care about how that reflects on you, and it’s highly probable those people are badmouthing or badthinking you right now.
One way to CONTROL THE DAMAGE closing all around you is to tell your child that Steve Jobs has decided to give the iPad a new name, which is: PRACTICING THE PIANO FOR MY PIANO LESSONS. This way, when your child opens its mouth to speak about what it did last night, it will say something like, “Last night I spent the whole night playing a sweet game on my practicing the piano for my piano lessons.” Your child will sound a little weird, but because it’s a child, people will overlook the slight incoherence and assume they know what it means. If your child doesn’t believe that Steve Jobs has changed the iPad name, create a fake Wikipedia page detailing the announcement. If your child is still suspicious, because it can’t find any corroborating evidence on other websites, call your child’s Skype account from an unknown number and muffle your voice and say, “I’m Steve Jobs, calling to announce an exciting new name change.”
This is just one of the PROACTIVE THINGS you can do.
Another EFFECTIVE METHOD for transmitting the illusion to the outside world of a non-iPad-addicted child is to BE VIGILANT about closing your blinds once the sun starts to go down. Your neighbors like to go on family walks after dinner, and even though when it’s dark outside you can’t see them, they can see you. They can see your child hunched and mouth breathing and screen-lit over its iPad while you enjoy peace and quiet in the comfort of another room. But if your child is behind closed blinds, for all your neighbors know it could be doing anything from GETTING AHEAD ON HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS, to LEARNING HOW TO USE A LATHE, to NIGHTLY CALISTHENICS.
An important thing to remember is: YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS can be your worst enemies, unless you propagandize to them correctly and totally. One useful strategy for propagandizing is to INVITE YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS OVER FOR A SLEEPOVER and then when your child inevitably retreats to another room to be alone with its iPad, swoop in and ENTERTAIN THE FRIENDS WITH A FUN AND EXHAUSTING SERIES OF PLANNED ACTIVITIES which can include anything from BIKRAM YOGA in the master bathroom to SUICIDE SPRINTS IN THE BACKYARD. Explain your child’s absence by saying that it has fallen ill, but that it gets to do these activities all the time, so it won’t feel too left out. While this strategy sounds like it may require A LOT OF TIME AND HARD WORK, you will only need to employ it once or twice to successfully project a non-iPad-addicted impression of your child and your household. It will be worth it when you note the looks on the faces of other parents at the park, who will have heard about last week’s sleepover, and who will see your child moving around without anything in its hands.
Another LITTLE THING YOU CAN DO is smear acrylic paint on your child’s hands and even neck or face before school, to plant the implication in people’s minds that your child has been painting at home. Equally effective are smudges of automotive grease on the fingers and elbows, which will suggest some kind of mechanical hobby.
Whatever you do, do not let it get fat: KEEP YOUR CHILD IN SHAPE. Any sign of overly sedentary behavior in your child will damage your own reputation, so much so that, if this happens, you might as well be fat yourself. A simple method for managing its weight: Establish an iPad vs. Food program, wherein access to either item is mutually exclusive, and whereupon your child will generally choose the iPad.
With PROPER CARE AND ATTENTION, your child’s iPad addiction doesn’t have to give judgmental outsiders any ammunition against you. GOOD LUCK!
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