So, as the first trimester of our child’s 8th grade experience comes to a close we hear from two teachers regarding his lack of effort – two classes he excelled in last year.

I cannot help but feel like a ne’er-do-well parent in these days of high technology. I have not become greatly adept at monitoring my child in all things media. He sits in our common area to do homework. We must be able to see the screen. He knows no password to our home computer so must ask for access. We severely restrict screen time in his opinion.

Our school system granted all middle school students a laptop upon which, in this his 8th grade year, our son has discovered TV shows. He is adept at switching screens before parental eyes can witness the treasonous act.

And now two of his grades reflect his choices. And two teachers call him on his lack of effort. And one mother finds herself on one occasion able to scurry over to his coveted spot in the library where he’s on occasion privileged to study, and catch him (much to her chagrin) watching a TV show instead. And cellphone and library are on hold until further notice.

I do not want the app on my phone that tells me where my child is at every moment. I do not want to avidly check his phone and laptop to monitor his usage. I do not want my child to grow into believing his only worthwhile entertainment is onscreen.

What of this vast screen of life? What of the great outdoors? What of using one’s hands and ingenuity to invent things…and things to do. What of running wild around unfettered by parental presence, free to make smart and stupid choices, without the world onscreen at your fingertips…and without your parents finding out until you’re well out of childhood?

What of the freedom of a free floating mind; free and unfettered from being boxed – onscreen?