Bob from Inver Grove Heights e-mails with thoughts on the iPod's impact on socialization:
I share your bewilderment over the ubiquity of iPods, even in supposedly "social" situations. Have you ever seen this New Yorker cartoon? It pretty much says it all on the subject. As a guitar player myself, it struck me as funny, then...not so funny. A little too believable, I guess.
And Tim from Colorado e-mails with his plans for tough love:
C'mon man, get wid it. Kids cannot go anywhere without their music, hence the ear buds, but if they have ear buds in when they get a cell phone call they have to pause their MP3, take out their ear bud and answer the phone. But with text messaging, they can continue to listen to their music and still communicate. I wouldn't be surprised if they text the kid they're sitting next to.
On the subject of music, our 14 year-old daughter cannot wait for us to get out of the driveway before she asks to have the radio on. I have Sirius, and I enjoy the wide variety of programming it offers, but I don't listen to it every minute I'm in the truck. Many times I get in my truck and travel with just the ambient road noise. It is pure torture for my daughter to go more than a half-block without the radio on.
I have the distinct pleasure of reminding myself that this 14 year-old will be driving in a year, and going solo in two years. If and when my wife and I decide to provide a car for our kids to use, I'm going to look for one with just an AM radio and no provision for a CD player, MP3 player, or other similar distraction. I may even disable the AM radio tuner so that it is stuck tuned to the station with Prager, Hannity, and Hewitt.
I'm thinking of temporarily sabotaging the Sirius unit for our annual family vacation to Michigan. I realize I'm tampering with my own sanity, but sometimes a parent has to make a sacrifice to teach an important lesson. As an option, I could chose to listen to Sirius talk radio for the 22-hour trip (each way). What would you recommend: liberal talk radio to show my kids the folly of the Left, or conservative talk radio to shine as a beacon? Decisions, decisions.
I would opt for the latter. Twenty-two straight hours of listening to liberal talk radio qualifies as child abuse in most jurisdictions.