December 20, 2014 Please Don’t Mess With My Stuff!! What’s Up Brandon, Okay, I’ll admit that I’m probably addicted to all of my electronic gadgets like my cell phone, iPad, video games, music, etc. But, what kid isn’t?!! I also spend a lot of time on social media and texting about stuff like homework assignments and my lacrosse team. But lately, my parents have been driving me NUTS!! They’re always complaining and telling me to turn my things off. Last night at dinner, I was just minding my own business and listening to some tunes while I ate my meatloaf. I guess I couldn’t hear what my parents were saying to me or something because suddenly they got all upset and made me turn off my music. Then, they confiscated all of my electronic stuff for the entire weekend and I hadn’t even done anything wrong!! I get good grades and do all of my chores around the house, so I don’t know why they are bugging out!! Do you have any advice for how I can get my stuff back?! And, how I can get my parents off my back about my stuff?! Thanks, Unplugged-And-Unhappy Dear Unplugged-And-Unhappy, Since I’m writing this on a laptop while listening to music on my iPod and looking at a fake fire on my iPad, I hear you! It feels kind of weird to not be staring at a screen or a keypad. And I’m addicted to taking pictures, so I’m always snapping them with my phone when I don’t have my camera with me. Sometimes it feels like it’s part of my hand. When I’m asked by an adult to turn it off, it’s like they’re literally cutting off a piece of my body – which is just cruel and sadistic, if you think about it! Still, grownups kind of have a point. It’s good to disconnect every now and then. There’s a lot we miss out on when we’re texting, playing games, and posting to Facebook – like cool murals on the sides of buildings, friendly dogs on leashes, a tricked-out Mustang, and conversations that don’t involve smiley faces and “LOL.” And it’s not like we spend tons of time with our families. Our parents probably feel like dinner is their one chance to ask awkward questions, like, “Who are you crushing on these days?” before we run up to our room, close the door, and turn into technology zombies. Also, and I hate to sound like an old person, but it’s just good for us to put down our gadgets sometimes. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been texting 24/7 about homework, afterschool clubs, and everything else I have going on, I need to turn my brain off and just chill. I know it probably feels pretty lame that they’re making you spend a whole weekend unplugged, but it sounds like you’re a busy kid – whether you’re studying, doing chores, or playing lacrosse – so maybe you’ll enjoy doing nothing for a while. At the very least, you can use this time to show your parents you’re not SO addicted to technology that you can’t go two days without it – after this, they’ll probably cut you some slack if every now and then you text between bites of meatloaf. I hope this helps!