I Spy With My Little Eye: Something Dangerous

I finally committed the crime I said I’d never commit: I made a parental decision based on what everyone else is doing. How lame is that?

I broke down and got an iPhone for my 12 (and a half)-year old daughter. I felt (feel) that that’s too young to mess with something as hedonistic as a smart phone but my hand was forced. She’s got a lovely group of girlfriends. They all do well academically. They’re polite and can hold their end of a conversation. They’re the types of kids I want her around. And they’ve all got iPhones. ALL OF THEM. When they group text or share photos, Daughter Dear is left out of the loop. I know how that feels. I spent my entire childhood out of the loop and if I can spare her that burden by breaking one of my rules, I’ll break it. I don’t want her drifting to a different crowd because she was disconnected.

This has lead to no small amount of angst, worry and sleepless nights. I’ve taken a dramatic and, some would say, unethical step.

I loaded tracking/monitoring software onto her phone.

You can lecture me all you want about trust and privacy issues but, Jesus H. Criminy, she’s just 12 (and a half). I don’t think ANY 12 (and a half)-year old girl should be left on her own to navigate the scary world of Instagram. I don’t feel good about reading her text messages. It makes me feel kind of dirty. But I’m in a no-win situation.

I’m finding that “little kids, little problems/big kids, big problems” is more than just a clever turn of a phrase. It’s pregnant with truth. I wonder if any of the other parents monitor their kid’s mobile phone use? Could you accuse them of being lazy and uncaring if they don’t? What would you do?


We made our annual pilgrimage to the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the summer installation. Every year they do something special on the roof and every year I drag the kids up there whether they like it or not. (I think they like it.) We arrive when the museum first opens so that we have the roof to ourselves.

Some of these installations are pure genius and some of them fall flat. This year’s model lies somewhere in between. The Roof Garden Commission by Dan Graham is an interesting “S” of steel and glass set between two ivy hedgerows.

Roof Garden Commission4The roof was covered with grass (actually artificial turf) and is meant to be viewed in conjunction with the lush greenery of Central Park.

Roof Garden Commission5The interesting part, the “get,” is the glass. It’s two-way mirrored and while completely translucent from one side, you see a gentle refection from the other.

Roof Garden Commission2It’s a neat trick. You can still see through the reflective side, but the ghosted images of the city can be seen distorted in a half-circle. It makes for a fun family portrait.

Roof Garden Commission1I wish it were a larger exhibit. Once the crowds arrived, it lost some of its magic. People waited in line to take photos from the best, most reflective, angles.

My Bride points. I imagine the dialogue is something like, “See that building over there? That’s where Daddy wishes he had a pied-à-terre.”

Roof Garden Commission3It’s an interesting enough piece although I was somewhat underwhelmed. To date, the best installation I’ve taken them to—hell the best one I’ve ever seen—was Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s anthropodino at the Park Avenue Armory in 2009. THAT’S how it’s done.


After the museum we saw a Broadway musical. Despite visiting the theater on an almost weekly basis, the fact is, with a few exceptions, I can’t stand Broadway musicals. Quintuple my nausea if there are children on stage. Broadway kids are the worst. They’re precocious, overly-talented mini-adults. Behind each one, giving a good hard shove, is a failed actress trying to relive the dream.

My kiddies wanted to see Matilda and since I’d be willing to take a bullet for them, suffering a musical seemed like a small matter in comparison. So there I was at the Shubert Theater for a Saturday matinee with a stage and house full of children. Dreadful. Strike up the overture. Let’s get this over with.

I may have to re-think my knee-jerk revulsion. The girl playing Matilda was a joy to watch. The stage design was magnificent. The lyrics are peppered with hilarious asides for adults. Matilda’s mother sings this one from her hospital gurney just after giving birth to Matilda, a child she neither wanted nor loves. Where you’d expect an ode to the joys of childbirth, you are treated to:

“Oh, my undercarriage doesn’t feel quite normal.
My skin looks revolting in this foul fluorescent light.
I should be dancing the tarantella –
Cui buon fare Italiano. [Italian: With good Italian manner]
Not dressed in hospital cotton,
With a smarting front bottom.”

How can you not like that? Thank you, Royal Shakespeare Company.

matilda

74 thoughts on “I Spy With My Little Eye: Something Dangerous

  1. I need to see how long that exhibit will be out, I may MegaBus my way up to NYC one weekend soon.

    I monitored my son’s dumbphone/flip phone until last year, just less and less frequently. With the smartphone, his main issue is downloading game booster apps, etc. Bunch of clutter and potential mess. I think he learned his lesson though.

    • You should do it! I think it’ll be there through September. There’s also an interesting career retrospective of Jeff Koons’ work at the Whitney.

      And you didn’t feel any residual guilt about monitoring his phone? That’s a comfort to me.

      • Sometimes, which is why I tapered off over the years, now he’s a month away from turning 18. Once he proved he could behave, not use it during school and stay within his data plan then I would check as it occured to me, not regularly.

  2. MoMA and no Lassnig? OMG you are a *TERRIBLE* father. 😉

    Actually that Lassnig exhibit would scar your daughter more so than had you NOT capitulated to giving her that iPhone.

    You had a full weekend. I wish I’d had parents as cool as you and the Missus.

  3. notspamnotspamabcsefg

    “A smarting front bottom” is pure poetry! My only quibble is that the rhyme with “cotton” is imperfect. I could easily spend an hour thinking up good rhymes for “a smarting front bottom”. That’s how dedicated I am to word art. I think you did the right thing in getting your daughter an iPhone.

    • It IS pure poetry! If they had taught phrasing like that in school I might have paid closer attention and not done so poorly.

      I don’t have any regrets about the phone but I certainly am concerned about it.

  4. For what it’s worth, I think you made the right decision about the iphone. Blindly sticking to your principles proves nothing. We all know how even as adults, we can still be bitter about something we weren’t allowed to have or do as kids that others were. As parents, sometimes we have to make decisions that go against our principles because we decide that other things are more important. When my daughter was nine, she started to get really dark hair on her legs (my mother’s side of the family is mediterranean, and she has some of that darkness), and she was starting to get teased in physical education at school, and so I let her start shaving her legs. That went totally against what I thought was right, and previously I’m sure I’d have judged a mother who let her nine-year-old shave her legs, but when I weighed it all up at the time, I decided that a child being teased about something to do with their appearance can have a lasting bad effect on their self-esteem, and so I felt I needed to compromise on my instinct! I did anguish over it, and I’m still not 100% sure it was the right decision, but hey, that’s parenting!

    • I’m rarely nimble on my rules so perhaps it’s a sign of, dare I say it, maturity that I’m being a bit flexible here. And not to turn this into a mutual exercise in aggrandizement, but you absolutely did the right thing. Good heavens what if you hadn’t? Your poor daughter would have been tormented over something she has absolutely no control over. What are we going to do with these kids?

  5. Wow I finally caught one of your posts the day it was published. yay!

    You are a cuckoohead for feeling a shred of guilt or misgiving tracking your daughter’s phone/ internet/ texting activity. Are you kidding me? It’s a disgusting world out there and the internet & “connectivity” makes it even more disgusting. I have access to all my girls’ email accounts (and they know it), only one daughter has a cell phone (not a smart phone) and she uses it to text for a ride. That’s it. The only person I don’t track is my son because 1) he’s pretty much an adult 2) I don’t really want to know what he’s up to.

    I wish I could feel enthusiastic about the grass exhibit but… blah. I do appreciate the pictures though, makes me feel like I’ve actually been off Staten Island FOR ONCE.

    • I’ve found a whole new worry. I’m certain that by the time she’s 14, her and her bright friends will have found a way to circumnavigate every firewall I’ve set up. My plan is to rely on my wife to try and keep abreast of improvements in monitoring technology. This is where I start to wish I had sons instead of daughters. Up until now I was okay with it.

      Staten Island. So close, and yet, so far away.

  6. I am against communication monitoring in general, but for children under 18 with a smart phones, I think it is entirely appropriate. The argument against can be rationalized that monitoring is the same as listening on phone conversations, but that is not so. One of the critical jobs of a parent (as i see it) is to ease a child into integrating with the big world out there. A smart phone is a very poweful tool capable of allowing the child to project themselves verbally, in writing, and in pictures into any venue in the world. And vice versa, the world can reach the child as well. This is unprecedented in human history – 50 years ago presidents had a harder time reaching that many people, let alone a 12 year old. It takes a lot of experience to deal with an open system like that. It scares me. Which is not to worry Mark – she is in a group with good friends and will have you to guide her. It is a mark of the speed at which this world travels now and she needs to learn how to deal with it. I applaud you getting her the device and I certainly feel it is appropriate that you be with her electonically to make sure she isn’t harmed until she learns the ropes.

    You’re a good Dad Mark and that is reinforced by exposing your kids to the theater and art. Pretty amazing.

    • I think people underestimate the power of smartphones. Lives can be ruined because of them. Does that sound extreme? I don’t think it’s such a stretch. I had no intention of letting my kid have a smartphone until she was a bit older but, as I said in my post, circumstances prevailed. I had to change my game plan.

      Those damn kids are going to like art whether they like it or not! Seriously…if you live this close to the city and never take advantage of the good stuff, then why bother? Then, all you’re doing is putting up with the expense and traffic and grime and, etc., etc.

  7. I think you made the right move getting her the phone, and putting the safeguard monitoring on, too, Mark. But I think maybe you should tell her it’s on there. A ‘we need to know you’re safe so we’ll check sometimes’ kind of chat? It may cause her to tell friends not to send her crap she shouldn’t getting all by herself.

    The exhibit looks pretty cool to me. I like your diligence it taking the fam there for it every year, no fail.

    That song from ‘Matilda’ is pretty adult worthy, you are correct, sir. Good Broadway choice by the kids. See? Good decision making in evidence already.

    • She knows. Before her iPhone, she had a crappy LG slider. She was able to text and from the time we gave it to her, she knew that we occasionally open it and read her texts. Strangely, she never seemed bothered by us doing that. Imagine! Same with the iPhone. She knows we’re monitoring. I told her that parents who didn’t look in on what their 12-year old kid did on their smartphone were OUT OF TOUCH with the modern world and probably negligent. See what I did? Instead of being the villain, I made parents who DIDN’T monitor the villain. Pretty clever.

      I don’t feel like I’m being diligent in exposing them to the museums. It’s something I enjoy doing. I’m merely dragging them along for the ride. Being diligent kind of makes it sound like a chore. When I’m there with them, I couldn’t be happier.

      • They really do emulate your likes but also your fears. Not long ago we went to an amusent park with a group of people. I didn’t go on any rides. I hate them. My girls wouldn’t go on any, either. They were afraid. I wonder where they learned that?

  8. . I have three daughters who each in her turn went through the first cell phone acquisition but I never once thought about monitoring their use of same. My reasoning was that I didn’t know who they were interacting with,or indeed what they were actually doing, apart from the stories that they shared with us when they were at home. As a consequence I trusted that the lessons and guidance we ( my now ex-wife and I) gave them would get us all through the trials and tribulations without too many bumps and bruises.They’re now 18, 23 and 24 and I think it’s worked out as well as can be expected.At any rate they seem normal well adjusted humans …… oops have I just put a jinx on everything?

    • Do you mind telling me how old they were when they got their phones? I still think that 12 is quite young. They simply don’t have the life skills yet that allow them to deal with some of the negative things that COULD happen with a smart phone in a rational, calm manner. Their tiny brains are still figuring out how to process it all.

  9. I left out a key point in my original comment. When I said that I didn’t know who my daughters were with or what they were doing when out of my direct supervision, at school or visiting friends I should have added that it was because I trusted them implicitly and not because I didn’t give a rats ass.

  10. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply anything by my addition . As best I can remember all three were about fourteen when they got their I-phones, so that just may be the age gap that makes the difference. What I was really trying to say in my cack-handed way was that trust is the most important element in families and from what little you’ve let us see of your children, they’ve earned it.

    • When I envisioned getting her a phone, I thought it’d be around 14. That sounds logical to me. This business came in about two years too early, thought. I have 100% trust in that girl. What I DON’T trust is the world outside. She doesn’t have the tools yet. But she will.

  11. Just think of your phone monitoring as preparing your daughter for the real world, with the NSA and employers spying on you. At least you’re doing it for the right reasons.

    • That’s true but do you know what that means? That means I’m no better than the NSA when it comes to spying! You re correct that my spying is benevolent and for her own good. That make is okay in my book.

      I can rationalize almost any type of behavior.

  12. Just remember if you ever see “I hate my mom” or “my dads an idiot” she is venting to her friends. Don’t take it personal-really they will come back around & appreciate everything you did for them. Funny how us adults can complain, have a bad day, or just say things and not really mean it; but children usually get punished because we don’t take that into consideration.

    • Good Lord, I never thought of that. I can’t imagine them ever typing those words but there are moments when they could be thinking that RIGHT NOW! Besides, I think that because she knows we’re looking in, she’ll self-censor until she can find a way around the firewall.

  13. I got my first phone when I was 13 after a lot of begging. But it was 1997 – it had the functionality to write text messages but text messaging wasn’t invented yet, let alone the internet.

    I begged my parents for one because I was starting to meet get interested in boys and didn’t want them calling the house because my sister would rip the piss out of me, and the story I told was that I needed it for safety when I was out horseriding just in case something happened.

    It makes me so nervous to think of kids growing up being so connected all the time – I got a lot of shit at school, and dread to think what home life would have become if they could have contacted me via Facebook or Whatsapp or group messages too. But yeah, I think you’re right to monitor it. I would.

    • My daughter didn’t beg but I knew what was happening. I knew she felt left out and I couldn’t bear it so I broke down. I’d better firm-up my resolve or in short order I’ll be buying her a BMW on my Chevy budget.

      If you think you’re nervous, you should see it from this side of 40. Lord, it’s a different world! When I was young and stupid and dating, do you know what my preferred method of break-up was? I’d simply stop calling. No confrontation that way. You’d never get away with that nowadays. It’s not so easy to just disappear anymore. Now you have messy confrontations.

  14. I think you are a lovely caring Dad… plus I wish I had been dragged to art exhibitions. 12 is definitely too young to face Instagram alone!
    Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin – he is well known in the UK for his way with words and music, I would love to see Matilda too.
    Sx

    • Loving and caring, but also panic stricken and nervous. What’s bad for her is also bad for the whole family, so monitoring her communications is an act of self-preservation.

      I’m not familiar with Tim Minchin’s work but he hit a home run with this show. It easily makes up for you guys sending Starlight Express over here.

  15. If I had a daughter, I would definitely be monitoring her phone/internet use. And I would tell her I was doing so.

    My mother used to take me to the museums and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when we lived in Fremont during The Sixties. She also took me to Haight-Ashbury. Hehehe
    Loved all those excursions.

    • We told her, because that’s the fair thing to do, but bit was tough. She didn’t seem to give a damn. Perhaps that’ll come later when she’s 16. When she’s got something to hide.

      If you’re lucky enough to live in SF or NYC, you really owe it to yourself (and your kiddies) to see this stuff.

  16. There’s no right or wrong decision in most parenting (except the very obviously wrong) and tech quandaries are nothing but gray. My opinion, though, is that giving the phone was an acknowledgement of trust in return for responsibility (not to lose it, to use it wisely, etc.). It’s like giving the kid the keys to the car. You can ride along, sure, but do you really want to go to that party? Maybe once, but every time? I think if you trust your kid, trust your kid, but keep the conversation ongoing: who are you texting, who are you talking to, are you going to post that photo, do you know what might happen if you posted that photo?
    By the way, I’ve deprived my child of a smartphone so far. She has an iPod and can snapchat, and that seems to be enough. For now.
    Interesting the comments, though. I still remember the things I was deprived of that all the other kids had. Cable, man. Cable!

    • I can tell you that she was very, very happy to get the phone and has not let it take over her life. So far, anyway. I like to see her communicating with her friends. I had years that I didn’t have anyone to talk to and never once had someone over to my house. I don’t want that to happen to my girls. Normal is often described as being boring but there are worse things that boredom.

      Does your daughter give you a lot of grief about not having a smartphone? It’s much worse if her friends have them. I didn’t want my daughter to be the first one to get a smartphone, but I never wanted her to be the last, either.

      • She doesn’t give me much grief, no. When she does, we like to point out that we live in a town of 3000 people, she goes to school in this very town, and when she’s out of town, she’s usually with us. Why would she need a phone?

  17. I don’t blame you a bit for putting that software on her phone. There is SO much out there that happens on social media and you would have no way of knowing what she’s being exposed to otherwise.

  18. Mark, I will be needing to make those same decisions regarding the smart phone! I’m scared to death. On the one hand, it seems like it will be a huge distraction and I know my son doesn’t need it. In your daughter’s case, it makes perfect sense why you let her have one. To be left out could cause bigger problems down the line.

    That exhibit looks phenomenal. That ‘s cool you got in before the rush. It’s not every day you get a family photo like that. I’m glad you enjoyed the musical experience. That usually isn’t my preferred kind of entertainment either, but if it’s done well then anything is worth the time. Glad you got that experience with your family.

    • It’d be interesting to see a study on how a smartphone changes a young girl vs. a young boy’s life. Girls are more verbose so it might have a greater impact on their social order.

      The best piece if advice I can give to anyone going to a museum is to get there when it opens. The maddening crowds tend to sleep late.

      Thanks for your always thoughtful and interesting comments!

  19. So then…caver! I think you did the right thing, as it happens. Unfortunately, smart is the new way of life and I think that this is a vulnerable age where peers matter. You can’t have your kid feeling stupid and not being part of the new age world. I think it’s ok to monitor her at that age but I also think you should tell her you are doing so. In about two years she is going to rant like hell about that and you’ll need to stop it and just at the time you will want to do it more!

    Love the roof garden commission. Very sexy.

    • Yes, I’m a caver. I admit it. I’m certain that’ll be the last time. From here on out, I’ll be steadfast. What I say, goes. Reet?

      I was wondering what the cutoff age is to stop monitoring. So you think it’s about 14 or so? That’s still too young. I was thinking more like 24. Or 32. After that I’ll feel safe.

  20. Matilda was a massive hit in London – surprisingly so, started as a short run small production, won all the awards going and got bigger and bigger…

    I’m so glad just got our kids through the early teenage years before having a smartphone became a requirement for life. I don’t envy you that one. In the end we did like we did with the computer and the internet. The conversation was something like “It is entirely open, we’ve not blocked anything and I don’t intend to. However if you abuse that we will shut it down and then some!” It was never abused (as far as I know)… my son one day did yelp a bit… he was googling for images of testicles for a science project but maybe that little mistake was a worthwhile reminder of the darker sides of life. Part of my reasoning was that when I was a teenager we had to get hold of “top shelf” publications but there was always a healthy supply on the black market at school so why stop them at home? They’ll just go somewhere else if they want it but if you don’t restrict it there is less of the allure of the forbidden.

    • Matilda is one of those shows that’ll be a fixture on Broadway for years to come. It’s a crowd-pleaser (albeit, a bloody expensive one, which is too bad when you think about it). I’m astonished at the level of competency that’s required for the title role. There are three little girls who rotate shows throughout the week. They’re on stage through most of the 2:30 running time. It’s an impressive feat.

      My biggest fear is that my daughter and her clever friends will soon find ways to circumnavigate the things we put in place to protect them. How could they not?! The thing that you’re not supposed to look at is the very thing to try to seek out first and foremost. It’s human nature. Technology makes parenting tougher and tougher.

  21. When my sprogs were that age, we had ‘the internet’. A good bit of teaching, rules and responsibility conversations – but also some degree of monitoring to make sure they held up their end of the bargain. It is not unreasonable. When mine started driving? i showed them a really cool gadget on that very same internet – one that would allow me to track the vehicle from anywhere. They asked “Would you do that?” My answer “i certainly know how, could afford to, and just might if i ever think i need to.”

    “Trust, but verify”. The only quote from ol’ Pappy Ronald Regan that i would ever consider trotting out in polite company…

    • Would be VERY HAPPY if my kids turned out the way yours have. You give good advice. A few years ago you gave some pretty good tips about how to talk to the kids about drugs. You’re pretty useful to have around. Thanks!

  22. I can’t believe you read her texts, that feels dirty! But I don’t blame you for monitoring what she is looking at and being exposed to. There are things out there that would mess ME up… no 12 year old needs to get anywhere near that.

    Most all of my nieces and nephews have iPads. Blows my mind. Ages 7 to 13 that have them. Scary.

    I downloaded snapchat the other day and I still have no idea how to use it or why it’s appealing but when I got it, it showed me that my nephew had it as well. Freaky.

    • I thought if I started reading her texts at 12, by the time she’s 16 she’ll be used to it. How does that sound? I’m betting it’ll end up like all my best-laid plans.

      I had snap chat for a while but switched to WhatsApp. As I recall from a post of yours, you use that as well. It’s the devil’s playground. The reason why I came to that conclusion is not fit for public consumption.

      • Haha well I only have one person on my WhatsApp so it seems fairly safe! I have like 9 SnapChats waiting for me from my SIL… I just don’t get it.

        So your daughter knows you’re reading her texts? That makes more sense.

  23. 1. I am so with you on the iPhone thing. I can’t imagine the fear parents go through with those things. Allowing your child to be exposed to the rest of the world 24 hours a day? From a plastic thing in their hand? Terrifying. I totally understand feeling the pressure to let her have one – I probably would – but I don’t think you should feel guilty for censoring / checking it. After all, fitting in with her friends shouldn’t mean she is exposed to anything potentially dangerous / harmful. I dread to think what advanced contraptions are around by the time I have children. Urgh.

    2. I have only just realised I wasn’t following your blog. Having read your post, a little thing popped up that said ‘Follow this blog?’ and I was like ‘What? I’m already following this excellent fellow, you silly poppy-uppy thing’ – and then lo and behold, I realise I WASN’T. I am aghast. I have never clicked a ‘Follow’ button so quickly in my life. I am terribly sorry for this heinous lapse in concentration. (But it now would make sense that I never saw you pop up in my Reader… oh how everything falls into place now.)

    • You haven’t been following?! Bloody hell. You’re lucky I don’t mark this comment as spam or just TRASH IT altogether.

      You know what’s going to happen with my daughters, don’t you? They’re going to outsmart me in short order. They’ll learn all the work-arounds from their deviant little friends and I’ll be helpless. Oh, it’s a twisty-tangled web parents are caught in nowadays. As you correctly state, it’s not going to get any easier in the future.

      Can I request that you try, try, try to post more often? I hate hectoring you about this all the time but you really are a joy to read. You take ‘leave them wanting’ to an extreme, methinks.

  24. I’m sure all parents will be tracking their kids sooner or later. It’s a good safety precaution. But would if parents had hidden cameras on their kids’ phones? They might see some things they don’t want to see . . .

    • I absolutely would NOT want to see what they’re up to! Once you see something, you can’t un-see it. I would consider planting a chip under their skin, though. They’d probably give me some grief about that one.

  25. Ack!
    I have no idea what I’d do. I can’t imagine giving the Little Prince a smart phone… but, by the time he is 12, it probably won’t even be a smart phone anymore anyway, it will be some new gizmo and gadget that everyone has instead.
    My initial argument was – I didn’t get a cell phone until I bought one and paid for the service myself. So, the Little Prince could follow in my foot steps in that regard. But! I too recall the days of being out of the loop, or, at least feeling like I was, and don’t want him to suffer as I did. Perceived or not.
    Perhaps I will pawn off all these hard decisions on the Queen. That’s why she is the queen and I’m just the lowly Jester, right?

    • Don’t downplay your status. You seem to be a pretty astute individual and I’ll bet the Queen would much rather have you around to bounce things off of instead of make these horrible decisions on your own.

      You guys will cave just like we did. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s human nature. Good Lord. Can you imagine when they’re 17? I don’t want to think about it.

      • Too many years into the future. My brain does not compute. Math overload. Brain shutting down….
        Okay, I’m back, what were we talking about?
        No. I can’t imagine what the world will be like when our children our 17. I’m not sure I want to yet. It’s going to take me some time to ease into whatever lies ahead for us.
        And, the Queen would completely agree with you. She hates making decisions on her own and definitely would appreciate my input. I’ll do my best. Which means, you are right, we will probably cave.

      • That last sentence made me laugh. People on the bus are staring at me. Decision-time with MY Queen usually goes something like this:

        Her: “So…do you think we should do A or B?”

        I: “We should do A.”

        Her: “Then that settles it. We’ll do B.”

        Every time.

  26. Argh, this is NOT what I want to hear! I want to blithely ignore reality and pretend I can shield my someday kids from pretty much all technology until they’re 16. Maybe I need to invest in a LOT of heavily wooded property…

    • I was all high-minded and steadfast. No iPhone until she’s 14. Actually, I think I started out at 15. Now look at me. 12 and she’s online. We were out getting ice cream last night and in front of us in line were three girls, about 15 or 16-years old. One never looked up from her phone. The only time she spoke to her friends was to brag that she had 400 followers on Instagram. It actually make me kind of angry.

      You’re right! It IS fun to seem all those comment notifications from you all at once! Like Christmas morning in July.

  27. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way you educate your daughter, you’re just fulfilling your responsibilities as her father. 🙂 Nice blog btw!!!

    • Hello, Rondita. Welcome! C’mon in. Please wipe your feet.

      I think the temptation is to say I’m stepping over the fine line that separates concerned parent and respect for individual liberty. But as far as I’m concerned, a 12-year old is still a child who HAS NO liberty yet. That’ll come later. Like…when she’s 27.

  28. See, this is life. Sunday morning on extended vacation, drinking my coffee and reading your blog, about the most consistently excellent blog there is out there. And now to stop sucking ass (is that the right term?)…

    I don’t want to think about my kids and cell phones. My oldest is seven and a half. I have time, I have time, I have time! Don’t I? Or is the age being pushed down? I suspect he’ll ask me for a phone in about two years, and I won’t know what to do. Would I load it with tracking software? Honestly, I probably would. They’re just too young to know things that are important. Hell, I don’t know things that are important. I can at least try to help them bumble through things.

    • I prefer the term “lathering my ass” but, yes, why don’t we dish that out in small doses. I’ve never been able to handle a compliment with the proper grace and humility.

      You have some time but I’m betting that the rules of engagement will change by the time he’s ready to enter the fray. It really does scare the living daylights out of me. It can all go so horribly wrong. I can monitor until I’m blue in the puss but eventually they’re going to be on their own. You can only hope they make smart choices.

      • Here’s to the lathering of asses! I think you handled that with great grace and humility.

        I look forward to drinking enough to not think about my kids using cell phones. Or whatever devices they invent in the near future.

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