Eddie Wants An E-Mail Address

emailMy kid has asked to get an e-mail address when he turns 10 next week. I’d prefer to wait until he’s older, like 35.

I’m strong enough withstand/ignore the argument that all his friends have them.

Because they don’t.

And I get the chicken-and-egg aspect – nobody to e-mail to because none of his pals have e-mail addresses. They just talk big. Like when they brag about their late bedtimes, which may or may not be true.

I don’t want Eddie to be the kid left behind, which is partially why we got a Wii a couple years ago. I wish the thing had never entered our house, because it often is just one more thing for Eddie and me to butt heads over.

Ditto the iPod Touch he got last fall. Bought the darn thing himself with money he had saved up for a year and a half. He thought we would keep with the house policy where Mom and Dad pay half, but I quickly hedged and said that only works but so far. Certainly not on a $200 piece of electronics I was convinced he would lose or break. So he nabbed a Black Friday deal and got a $40 Target gift card to boot. I’m proud that he achieved a goal, and my Lovely Bride (of exactly 15 years, today) suggested it function as one more tool in my carrot-and-stick arsenal.

I took to calling it “that thing,” and it quickly devolved into…

“Give me that thing and go do your homework.”

“Did you ask if you could play on that thing?”

“If you don’t turn that thing off right now, I’ll take it away for three days.”

“No, you can’t run all over the yard to make movies with that thing.”

“No, you can’t trust a 5-year-old to hold it while you run all over the yard to make movies with that thing.”

“No, you can’t play on that thing for an hour before you do your homework.”

“No, you can’t go check the weather because then you’ll get distracted when you need to get dressed, make your bed, brush your teeth and go to school.”

No no no no no.

Ugh with the no.

We ultimately fashioned a broader screen-time policy where homework assignments must be written in the school-provided planner, papers must be inside folders (not just jammed in the binder) and there must be no notes home from teachers for Eddie to get screen time each day. And for the record, not once has Eddie lost or broken that thing. I’m almost disappointed, but I suppose I’m really glad that he’s responsible enough to take care of it.

Aside from anticipated fatigue of no you can’t borrow my phone to check your e-mail every nine seconds, no you can’t check your e-mail until you do your homework, no you can’t check your e-mail because it’s a gorgeous day now go play outside, I really worry about Internet safety.

Sure, I could keep his password or copy all his e-mails to my account so I know his comings and goings. But it would be just one more thing for him to nag me about. And more butting heads. And really, I need to teach Eddie how to navigate the Internet and avoid predators on his own.

Oy.

Looks like Lovely and I have some discussing to do.

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2 responses to “Eddie Wants An E-Mail Address

  1. My oldest 2 both got email addresses when they turned 10. It was the biggest event of their lives.

    For 2 weeks.

    Now they both check it maybe once a week if they remember to. The way to go is to pay for one of the kids email places (there’s a ton) or I went with gmail, as they have fairly good spam filters and I can connect their account with mine, and I can see their emails from my account.

    Same rules, though, homework, chores, must be done first. And screen time is the first to go upon displays of pissy behavior. So far its working OK. My 12 year old is actually using her email for signing up for school activities, and can check it on her iPod touch (that she saved for herself as well!!!). So, I agree, as a father I’m terrified of the bad stuff that’s out there in the interwebs, but they need to learn about it and how to deal with it sooner or later. And I know I’m probably the one sheltering them a bit too much already.

    Been reading for a while, love the blog! Seems like some of these posts I could write about my own life!

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