How wired is your family?


#1

nytimes.com/2010/02/09/technology/09spend.html?hp


#2

Reading that article and as an Xbox Live user can I ask why in Heaven’s name the kids are on a subscription plan of $50 a month each? Here in the Uk it’s £39.99 for a year’s subscription to the service or £4.99 per month if you pay monthly. I can’t believe that it costs a huge ammount more to subscribe every month in the US. Perhaps the kids are also been given money to convert into points to spend on Xbox Live on movie rentals, game add-ons etc.

To be honest I’ve been looking at cutting back on stuff like this at it seems increasingly shallow and unhealthy as a way to live your life. Much of what is on offer via gaming is pap and has not intellectual substance. That’s true also with regards to a great deal of the ‘entertainment’ found via cable tv and the other methods mentioned in the article. I probably use this forum most for enterrainment online as though the debates can be contentious or heated you have to use your brain if you really wish to partake here. Also real people offer interaction online no PC or console game could hope to match.


#3

400 dollars a month?!?!?! Good grief. That is a ton of money.

We do have cable now after over a year of no TV at all, and I have the cheapest package that I can get DVR with (must FFwd commercials), and cable high speed internet which I have to have for work since I work a lot from home. My bill for both is 75 a month. My cell phone and my daughters are 30 a month, no texting, no 3G, no nothing. We don't own any video game systems, and I am so out of the loop I had no idea there was such thing as a 'live' subscription service to video gaming?? :shrug::confused:


#4

We're practically Amish I guess.

We have one wheezing home computer that does have broadband access, but it has gotten about as slow as I remember dialup being in the early days...

No cable TV or satellite. Just a plain antenna.

I have no personal cellphone, just an old Nextel work phone that I can have essentially 1 minute personal calls on. Wife has a $30/month Sprint plan with the phone that came free. We almost never use up all the minutes.

Our kids did get a Wii for Christmad, but I refuse to wire it to the web. It's addictive enough as is.

Our kids will NEVER have their own phone, TV or computer (through high school at least). We may eventually lend a cell phone for emergency use on nights out, but not one of their own.

Our kids will not have their own car until later in college.

The point isn't to be harsh or deny kids what they want. The point is to recognize that all this stuff is coming between family members and destroys family bonding. I'm having none of that. My oldest is 9 and has no idea that she is "missing out" on any of that nonsense.


#5

I just did some major upgrades when it comes to technology since I moved into a new place recently. I got a great deal on an HDTV and Blu-Ray player (with wi-fi for netflix) so in terms of being wired, I would say I have most things ‘connected’ at my place, but my recurring costs are reasonable. I don’t play or own any video games (out grew them many years ago). So the only things I pay for on a monthly basis are:

  1. Cable/Internet (basic package)
  2. Cell Phone (partially subsidized via work)
  3. Neflix (Gift subscription)

That is roughly $200 a month (prior to reimbursement on some of my phone costs). As it stands now I would not really be able to lower those expenses because they are for services that I must have so I can’t really complain too much.


#6

Okay, let's see...

Verizon FIOS for the TV, Telephone and Internet.

Five computers and another on the way
Three non-HD TVs
Four cell phones and one Blackberry (unlimited texting :rolleyes:)

Did I mention I had teens?


#7

At first glance I thought this thread was "How *weird *is your family?" :whacky:

I think we're probably below average as far as being wired. We have small second-hand TV set we got for free from a family member, otherwise we'd have no TV (I miss the days when our only TV was broken :o but I've got to have the TV for our home videos). We only use it to play home movies and DVDs (on a second-hand free DVD player--we used to use an old broken playstation to play the DVDs :D).


#8

We have, in our house, 7 computers (2 are DH’s for work, 1 is mine for work).
With 3 kids in high school, access to computers is necessary for homework. Much of their homework is online.

5 cell phones. (2 iPHones and a Blackberry- 3G - and 3 ‘regular’ cell phones) - unlimited texting

4 iPods (including an iTouch that gets internet).

Cable TV/broadband internet and Netflix

a PS3 that connects online for free. (My son bought that with his own money).
a Wii that connects online (don’t do much with that, though).

There are 5 of us - including 3 teen boys.


#9

That's insane but I would assume not too untypical from people I know.

We have (intentionally) - as little as possible. It's all distraction to our definition of family time.

  • No paid for TV (antenna only)
  • No paid for Radio
  • No video games of any kind
  • No Blu Ray / HD anything - the DVD player we have was handed down to us because the person felt bad we didn't have one.
  • No wireless computer - on purpose
  • One tracphone that is split between my wife and I depending on the situation
  • 1 laptop pc with a highspeed connection - not willing to live with dial-up any longer. Since I work from home 100% - it's mandatory anyways.
  • No e-reader
  • No "I" anything

Again, those are all distractions to our face to face family time.


#10

Good luck with that. She is only 9. Just wait. Just wait. She is a GIRL and she is not a teenager yet. Just wait.

Ah, I remember when we said that, too - no cell phones, computers. Enjoy the innocence naivety now, because once that 9 year old turns into a teen, it’s all over. Just wait.

Computers, actually, are required for many schools, FYI. Our high school is requiring them (and providing laptops) for every student next year.


#11

Catholic90 - I didn't 'mention the iPods for everyone.

Nor did I mention my son-at-colleges stuff.


#12

we have a landline, internet and a DVD player. no cable.

now i have a cell phone because work insisted i carry one and they pay for it.

“As the expectation of connectedness increases, it’s what is expected for people to be functional in society.”

in my book, this is very false connectedness. people are really losing the ability to be WITH people in any meaningful way. constant entertainment is NOT meaningful.

goodhusband and i saw a young couple having dinner in a restaurant. she was on her cell phone, he his blue tooth. they were talking to other people, then to each other about what they were talking about. but they never got off the phone.

they’ll get married and wonder why they don’t know each other.

i see cute little kids perched in grocery carts, looking up at their mothers adoringly, while mom is chatting away to some invisible friend on her bluetooth.

one of my teens said this about a group of guys: they’re my wii friends.
i said: what’s that mean?
he said: i only know them doing wii.
i said: you mean all that time you spend with them, that’s all you do?
he: yup. they’re wii friends. when i come home, they all stay. i can’t stand it anymore but they can do wii all day.


#13

I used to be against cell phones for kids across the board, but then I realized I wasn't really looking at all the angles. My 12 yr old has a cell that is extremely basic and I like her to have it for safety reasons. she walks to and from school and it makes us both feel better that she can call me if needed or wanted. She often does call me and chats with me about her day all the way home. Besides calling me or her aunts, she never uses the phone:shrug: It's not the devices themselves necessarily, it's how they are used or misused or overused. I'd never allow texting though.......


#14

[quote="Catholic90, post:10, topic:186180"]
Good luck with that. She is only 9. Just wait. Just wait. She is a GIRL and she is not a teenager yet. Just wait.

Ah, I remember when we said that, too - no cell phones, computers. Enjoy the innocence naivety now, because once that 9 year old turns into a teen, it's all over. Just wait.

Computers, actually, are required for many schools, FYI. Our high school is requiring them (and providing laptops) for every student next year.

[/quote]

A computer - yes - anything else - subjective. I have many friends who are parents of teenagers and one PC to share is all they get. That PC is in a wide open area that everyone can see.

Kids who can't pay for their own phone do not have/get one.

If the school wants to provide the laptop that's wonderful.. The parental restrictions as to when & where it's used in the home - not their business.


#15

To augment my original post.

-I also have one personal laptop (kind of old now) and a work laptop. I recently disposed of my old desktop.
-External networked hard drives.
-My laptop is also connected to the TV via S-video and I have the audio through the TV as well for displaying free internet videos/streaming on the TV. My need for this has been greatly reduced since getting the Blu-Ray player with Wi-fi capability and the fact it is integrated with netflix, so my queue is now a menu option on my tv.


#16

That’s a depressing view. We don’t believe in computers/TVs in our kids’ rooms either. They’re 5, 3, and 6 months. We believe in one TV for the family (no TV in our bedroom either). You want to watch TV, then you watch it as a family. It’s not an individual activity in our house.

When the kids get older, we may add another centrally-located computer to help with schooling (we will be homeschooling in our family). If we are blessed with many children, we’ll add computers for school as needed and as we’re able to afford them. If they whine about not having their own in their rooms, too bad. They keep whining? Discipline. Sorry, whining is not acceptable behavior. I’ll be likely to take a page out of Dr. Ray’s approach and tell them to write an essay on polite and acceptable communication techniques. :smiley:

As for cell phones, I really can understand why some parents want their kids to have them if they have a 2-working-parent family and/or send their children to school.


#17

In my family, we just went virtually all mobile. Everyone has a laptop and I'm the only one with a desktop (for power computing), and everyone has a cell phone with unlimited texting.

Those cell and data plans are EXPENSIVE! We got a really good deal on ours which makes it about the same price with data as just a regular family plan, so it's worth it.

But yeah, our house is pretty wired (or wireless as it were), but it gives us a lot of flexibility. I set up a VPN for my dad so he can work from home and access his office network, which was great when my sister and I were younger.

Eamon


#18

Good luck with that. She is only 9. Just wait. Just wait. She is a GIRL and she is not a teenager yet. Just wait.

good luck nuthin'. none of my teens (4 teen boys and 3 teen girls so far) have carried their own cell phones. there's nothing naive about it.

if a parent thinks a kid doesnt need to carry a cell phone, resists pressure and doesnt get the teens cell phones, it's called not caving.


#19

[quote="monicatholic, post:12, topic:186180"]

in my book, this is very false connectedness. people are really losing the ability to be WITH people in any meaningful way. constant entertainment is NOT meaningful.

.

[/quote]

It depends on how you use the electronic means of communication. If you stay isolated in your house and just get entertained via your tv or video games I don't think that is good, but if its used sparingly its fun and video games can build team work, sharing, problem solving, etc.

Additionally, I find gchat to be outstanding. I plan so much via e-mail that if I am on my way home I can stay logged into gchat on my blackberry with a status message asking if anyone wants to get together for dinner or lunch, or go do whatever and I'll get messages from people saying that would like to meet up, etc. Without that 'connectedness' I would miss out on a lot of opportunities to get together with people.

[quote="monicatholic, post:12, topic:186180"]

one of my teens said this about a group of guys: they're my wii friends.
i said: what's that mean?
he said: i only know them doing wii.
i said: you mean all that time you spend with them, that's all you do?
he: yup. they're wii friends. when i come home, they all stay. i can't stand it anymore but they can do wii all day.

[/quote]

It is interesting you mention this. I see the happen a lot. I am sure some people on here have CAF friends.


#20

[quote="monicatholic, post:18, topic:186180"]
good luck nuthin'. none of my teens (4 teen boys and 3 teen girls so far) have carried their own cell phones. there's nothing naive about it.

if a parent thinks a kid doesnt need to carry a cell phone, resists pressure and doesnt get the teens cell phones, it's called not caving.

[/quote]

Yeah, I didn't get one until I started driving, and that's because my commute to high school was ~45 minutes each way. Even then, I couldn't use it for anything except emergencies.

Eamon


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