It's parents vs. kids when high-tech gadgets invade the home front. One dad keeps score
I got a parenting tip from Kid Rock recently. Yes, that Kid Rock. The ex-Mr. Pamela Anderson was telling David Letterman how he had taken his son and a classmate to a movie. Kid Rock returned from fetching popcorn to find the boys had ditched him and moved to another row. The son said he’s a teen now, so it’s no longer cool to sit with Dad. Steam hissed from the brim of Kid Rock’s purple fedora. Through gritted teeth, the punchline: “But I’m probably the coolest dad in this entire state!”
Where’s the parenting wisdom in that, you ask? Well, Mr. Rock, like me, is clearly learning that family relationships do not stand still. My long-cherished bedtime reads are dwindling; my 10-year-old daughter can do without my big nose in her vampire books; and my son, when not hinting about 13th birthday presents, is quietly cultivating Facebook friends at a exponential pace. Not a lot of elbow room for an old guy in that crowd.
Like Kid Rock, I consider myself — well, if not quite cool, at least not clueless, particularly about the preteen gadgets that are sucking up so much of our former family time. So, instead of declaring cellphones, iPods and a dozen Internet applets my sworn rivals, I am trying to see if high-tech toys harbour any insights about my kids’ lives.