Three teenagers who got their parents to 'shut the fuck up' for six months say the experience has change their lives for the better.
'We decided like to pull the plug on Mum and Dad for six months,' said 14-year-old Sue Stratton. 'Our parents are part of a generation that has grown up interfering with their kids' digital experience. It was getting like we couldn't remember a time before parental controls. When we saw traditional browser skills being lost, we decided to act and said, 'Hey, you guys, how about shutting the fuck up for six months?'
Sue's brother Jamie (15) said the average parent spends eight hours a day 'busy bodying around their children's 'mass-mediated interaction.
'Mum was forever altering parental controls, peeping round my bedroom door at what I was watching on tele, or asking me to turn my iPod volume down in case it made be deaf,' Jamie said. 'Our lives are infinitely better without all that crap. We now experience the home as a real digital hub of family life.'
Mrs Stratton says she hadn't realised how hooked she'd become on monitoring her children's digital and virtual lives.
'I guess I was obsessed with stuff like reading aloud to the children, sitting down to a meal together, and Saturday night sing-songs around the piano. When I saw Jamie's texting skills were suffering, I saw they had a point and Jim and I agreed to - as I think E M Forster once wrote - shut the fuck up.'
‘Yes,’ agreed,’ Mr Stratton,’ although we did stay on stand-by.’
Now the Stratton children have written an e-book, 'The Winter Of Our Dis-Parent', chronicling their experiences.
Thirteen-year-old Penny Stratton said:
“At the simplest level it’s the story of how one highly idiosyncratic family survived six months of wandering through the desert, parentally speaking, and the lessons we learned about ourselves and our technology along the way. At the same time, our story is a channel into a wider view into the very heart of the meaning of home and family.'
‘Yeah’, Jamie said. ‘That’s right. As long as you’ve got your flat-screen, mobile, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Wii and Mac, you definitely don’t need stuff like parents.’