“Secret iPad”

Đạo, Đán, and Khôi (their cousin) are tight. Unlike when they were toddlers, they played together more than fought or argued against each other. They would spend all day on their digital devices if we let them. Because we live close by, they wanted to have sleepovers every weekend. Every time they had a sleepover, they would wake up at noon, ate brunch, then played video games while my wife and I redid our deck.

Last Saturday, we had no water in our house because we replaced our shut-off valves. All of us went over to my sister-in-law’s house to sleep. I was dead tired by 8:30 pm and just wanted to crash on the sleeping bag in the living room, but Đạo insisted that I should go to sleep in one of the bedrooms upstairs because the boys wanted to sleep together on the coaches. With my sister-in-law’s family, our family, and my mother-in-law, all the bedrooms upstairs were occupied.

By 9 or 9:30 pm I already passed out on the sleeping bag. Around 2 am, I heard voices whispering. I looked up and saw Đạo and Khôi chatting with some lights glowing. I got up to tell them to go to sleep and I was shocked to discover that they were playing on their iPads.

The next day, we had a parents-children discussion and we found out more shocking confessions. They had “secret iPad” time at night when they were supposed to be sleeping together in our house. No wonder they woke up so late. They secretly played on their iPads at the wee hours. My heart broke a little. They broke our trust. This is a sign of addiction. With the coronavirus and house-fixing projects, we let them loose for a bit with screen time and now they are sinking even deeper into digital addiction.

Now I feel so guilty for letting this happen. We need to get out again soon. Before the coronavirus hit, we limited screen time only on weekends. We would go out skiing, ice skating, swimming, or other activities. Nowadays Đạo hardly picks up his book to read. The only thing they have on their mind is screen time. We need to wean them off again.

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