'I've Wanted To Smash Them': Parents Going To Desperate Lengths To Keep Kids Off Devices
Laura Condely is mum to three children aged 14, 11 and 10.
If you have tweens or teens, you will know those are particularly difficult ages when it comes to managing devices in the home.
For Condely, despite putting in place various controls to limit the use of items like iPads and mobile phones, with so many of them in the house, she said it was no use.
"If they aren't on the PlayStation, they're on their iPad and, if not the iPad, they're on the computer, phone and then watching TV. We've had time controls in place and banned viewing through a number of apps," she told 10 daily.
"We'd even purchased a device to lock the modem up and this was bypassed then tampered with and broken. There is always excuses and negotiations too and I'm sick to death of discussing it."
Condely was so fed up with the battle over technology in her household that she even contemplated destroying them, but couldn't bring herself to do it due to the cost.
"I have been to the point of smashing them up but can't do it because of the cost I just can't bear it. Plus school need them to have it," she said.
I did ban my daughter's outright for a week but was contacted by the school to say she must have it. I do understand this because of lessons planned but I'd love the school to discard the iPad program.
Tired of going around in circles, Condely and her husband decided to take measures that others might consider extreme, but for them were necessary to deal with what the mum of three calls an 'addiction' to technology that she likened to 'being addicted to ice'.
"I was starting to feel that at some point, they actually might hurt me for it and that breaks my heart because they are the most beautiful kids ever," she said.
Aside from this confronting behaviour, Condely said it's not her only reason.
"I was watching their behaviour deteriorate, my son in particular was getting angry and lashing out and they were all starting to speak poorly (language we just don't use in this house)," the mum of three said.
Tired of all the fighting over the devices her children had been on for eight or more hours, Condely decided to start locking them up in a cabinet. It's a decision that came when her children would come 'crawling' out of their rooms during the night to take their devices from their chargers.
"So eventually I said new school year, new start. I saw the cabinet and immediately thought this would work wonders. They have time for homework and allocated weekend free time and we aren't negotiating any further," she told 10 daily.
"My husband was my biggest problem previously as he'd enter negotiation and then, once they were back on, it was back to square one trying to get them off in the first instance and then back to the original rules."
Condely's husband drilled two holes in the back of the cabinet for chords and it sits in front of a power point next to their 'school station' where their bags and shoes are stored.
"They get home from school, bring out lunch boxes and drink bottles, put their devices in the cupboard and bags away. My eldest has more time due to the amount of homework she has but the others have been very understanding of this," the mum of three said.
"As soon as I bought the cabinet I said 'do you know what this is for' and all of them said exactly the purpose."
Yet despite knowing the purpose of the cabinet, Condely said they still didn't like the extreme measure and threatened to break it.
"My eldest daughter actually cried real tears when she was forced to put her computer and phone in," she told 10 daily.
But only a few days into the new system, Condely said her children's attitude and behaviour is already better.
"There's still been some attempts at negotiating (we are staying strong) and a little resistance to put them in. But actually it's starting to feel like a routine," she said.
"We went swimming last night and I feel already I'm starting to see the old kids come back."
After Condely's success with the cabinet, she shared her experience in the Kmart Hacks & Decor Facebook group where it quickly went viral, gaining over 3,000 reactions and over 450 comments.
Featured image: Supplied