What do teenagers DO?

There's an ongoing 'discussion' in this house.  Okay, so it's really a disagreement, but in the nicest possible way.  It's about teenagers and my expectations.  No, this is not a disagreement with the teenagers in the house, but with Angel, who is now 21.

She says that most teenagers 'do nothing' because of the Internet.  Sitting on the sofa all day with a laptop is entirely normal, and parents should basically be grateful if their teenagers get out of bed.

Here's the bit that I agree with..

A long time ago when computer use was in its infancy, I remember reading confident predictions about how they would relieve us from all life's boring tasks and give us lots of leisure time.  The first was partly true, but the second?  Well most people have to work harder than ever, juggling long working hours with micromanaging children, sparkling homes and filling in endless forms to satisfy the latest Government whim.  Not only that, but something has happened to our leisure time too.

My memory is that pretty pictures were painted of happy families running down the beach, pottering around the shops, feeding the ducks on the lake, walking on the hills, dinner out in the pub as a treat, sitting around the tellybox on a Saturday evening watching Dr Who.

Perhaps that is the life of some lucky people perhaps, but for the rest of us?   Well Smiley excepted, things are very different for my children's generation.

Why go to the beach and get dirty and sunburned and stuck in traffic when you could relax with your Xbox instead?

Why would you bother going to actual shops when you can sit in bed and order what you like from the Internet.  The stuff is usually cheaper, and you don't have to pay bus fares, parking tickets or clamping fees.

Dinner out in the pub at €100 a pop?  And someone has to drive too and sit there sipping an overpriced glass of water, unless you want to wait, and then pay an eye-watering taxi fare.  Doesn't a bottle of wine and pizza at home for €30, seem much more appealing?  Especially as babysitters don't need to be paid.  I'd not choose pizza, but that's just me.

Who watches TV now?  Not my kids, unless there's a very important match on.  Isn't YouTube and Netflix and a laptop all you need?

Angel's argument that teenagers can get and do everything they need on-line makes sense: TV shows, information, clothes, food, socialising, banking, even workouts.  They're all there.

BUT I think that most teenagers do other things too.  She certainly did.  There's teenagers who are sporty or enjoy youth clubs or scouts, others who like to party, a few who enjoy voluntary work, and those are just some of the ones we know.

I also passionately believe that they should do other things.  That you're missing out if you just stay at home all the time, especially during those years when you are young and full of energy and curiosity and spoiled with free time.  The whole world is not on the Internet, it's outside the front door, and I really, really think that all teenagers should understand and appreciate that.

But if Angel is right, then they won't.

Can you settle this disagreement?  Who is right?  Do your teenagers spend all their time on on-line unless you intervene?  Or not?


  1. I agree with you, teenagers need to get out and about. I guess at the end of the day it is a matter of finding the correct balance...... but try telling a teen that! Hah! :-)

  2. Yes it's the same in my house- my youngest is only 13 and hates me going into his room as I will always open his curtains and let light in!!! My eldest who's 16 really had me worried for a few years as he has some Asperger traits and was addicted to xbox- or so it seemed. He now has become much more sociable and has a lovely group of mixed friends but he still likes his games. I think it's about finding a balance and I do make a point of organising something we do together occasionally just to make sure they get away from the screens :)

    1. I just need to keep persevering - glad to hear it's worked out for your eldest, that's encouraging :)

  3. Mine haven't reached their teenage years yet but I so hope I'll be able to convince them that they need to be out and about. I suppose the weather also plays a part when it rains for 3 months at a time.

    1. Hopefully the beautiful countryside around you will help, and you never know, they might like the rain! We do here :)

  4. Mine are still young, but I do fear for what's ahead! Having said that, I don't let them use the iPad or give them my phone and I make random rules like "no phones at the table" (directed at my husband) so I'm hoping that although the electronic takeover is inevitable, that by pushing against it while I still can, it might help...(can you hear the lack of confidence!)

    1. Keep them away from electronics as long as possible, and if you can choose their friends, make sure they don't have them either :) Even now, I'm not that into TV, and I'd say that's because I didn't have it as a child :)