What Really Happens When You Remove A Teen From Wi-Fi?

So, we have just returned from the most beautiful holiday sailing around the Greek Islands ... crystal blue calm waters, sunshine, rosé and lots more rosé ... pure bliss ... but, listen, the real biggy is this ... we took three teens with us ... and we had limited Wi-Fi! What were we thinking? Can you believe that I still thought it was bliss?!

Well for anyone who read my post about preferring a Chanel bag to a holiday because a Chanel bag wouldn't be leaning precariously over a hotel balcony trying to get the best Wi-Fi spot and a Chanel bag wouldn't strop every time I asked it not to look at their phone during dinner, then you will understand the huge problem access to Wi-Fi holds for me and my teens on a holiday. It was no surprise, then, to be met with squeals of:

"OMG I won't be able to streak."

"OMG I won't be able to see what Alexis and Jay are up to?"

"OMG I won't be able to see if Kylie has updated her make-up brand."

"OMG I won't be able to search for Pokemon."

"OMG I wont't be able to ..."


Now, for those of you who are slightly concerned about the teens not being able to get their streak on ... don't stress ... it's not what you think ... I haven't suddenly got kids on my hands who are exhibitionists ... no it's something to do with snapchat and maintaining a flow of conversation and contact with friends ... there seems to be some urgency about not letting the number of days they have contact stop ... in fact not some urgency ... a whole lot of OMG urgency that prevents them from being able to do anything else until they've completed their 1,567 streaks.

"Darling, please could you help empty the dishwasher?"

"After I've streaked, Mum!"

"Would you mind giving me a hand with this, Sweetheart?"

"Muuuum! I'm streaking!"

... you get the gist ... and for those of you who haven't got this whole streaking affair going on in your life count yourself lucky.

Now, the Alexis and Jay reference ... these aren't real friends of their's in the actual real friend sense, that they would lead you to believe, but is some celebrity couple who, I swear to God, my kids think are family or actual real-life friends ... the interest in their everyday lives and relationship is quite frankly bonkers ... are they still together? Are they not? But you've got to hand it to them ... 1.3 billion people adore them! I plucked that figure out of thin air so may be an exaggeration ... but probably not.

The other references I'm too drained to explain - but a quick google should sort it for you. Anyway, we really actually limited the Wi-Fi. We braved the much less-downtrodden path. We did it.

"My name is Justsayingmum and I limited my kids time on Wi-Fi."

It feels that momentous. That big a deal. Obviously, we told the kids that the boat didn't have Wi-Fi ... not that we weren't going to pay the £150 for them to have access ... sneaky ... OK, they know now but it was an easier option in the beginning ... believe me ... hate the boat not us!

So, you all wonder, what happened? Did the children just stop functioning? I'm not going to lie ... nearly! Did a scene, likening to the Hunger Games, of ravage type behaviour unfurl before our very eyes? Almost. But ... in reality, something like this happened...

Not a phone in sight ... well apart from me snapping away ... but this post wasn't about my break from the phone! And do you know what? Their friends didn't stop being their friends because they didn't streak (still thinking of actual streaking every time I write this!), Alexis and Jay are doing OK, games were there to come back to and make up still exists.

The world really didn't stop but my children did for a moment and I think for those beautiful couple of weeks they enjoyed real life, in the way that real life grounds you. It made them realise that conversation is beautiful, that the words of a book can take you to a whole other world, that there is beauty in your surroundings when you actually stop and look, that to do what you love is good for the soul, to play and to laugh is one of the best feelings in the world and to connect with the life that is in front of you is undeniably what you need to do more of. It made them feel good about themselves.

Sadly, we are home now and the Wi-Fi is back in full force but the break has taught them that there is more to life ... a whole lot more ... and I know that deep down they know that too ... just saying.

NB Kate Orson has written a wonderful post (copy and paste link below) about setting limits on screen time and I think we could all learn wonderful things from this ... us and not just the children!






helen sandle