I’m A Celebrity a real game changer for our lit­tle fam­ily

Fingal Independent - - OPINION - Jus­tine O’ma­hony

DO you re­mem­ber long ago, be­fore iphones, Nin­ten­dos, Playsta­tions and so­cial me­dia were in­vented, what we used to do on Satur­day nights? We used to watch TV. Satur­day nights were for climb­ing onto the couch and watch­ing shows like The Gen­er­a­tion Game, Blan­kety Blank, Blind Date, Only Fools and Horses and Dal­las.

Those of you of a cer­tain age will re­mem­ber a time be­fore re­mote con­trols when your par­ents would nudge you to get up and “turn over” the sta­tion so you could watch some­thing else. This usu­ally pro­voked a row over whose turn it was to “turn over” the sta­tion but still, it was good clean fun.

I may be look­ing at this pe­riod through rose tinted glasses but they were good times. We may have all pre­tended we hated each other but it was fam­ily time, pre­cious mo­ments spent en­gag­ing with one an­other even if it was just trad­ing in­sults.

A few years ago we bought this big L shaped couch for the liv­ing room. I had this dreamy no­tion of hav­ing us all pil­ing onto it on a Satur­day night to watch TV to­gether. It never hap­pened. One child spends all her time in one room on her phone whilst the other does God only knows what in his bed­room.

Ev­ery time I sug­gest we all watch TV to­gether they look at me like I’ve fi­nally lost the plot! My chil­dren, it seems, are not into TV and even less into spend­ing time on a couch with their par­ents of a Satur­day night. What kind of loser does that??

But that all changed last week with the re­turn of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Hav­ing lured them onto the couch by dan­gling a take­away in front of them, I turned on the telly and told them they couldn’t leave till it was over.

Ini­tially they weren’t happy, but within 15 min­utes they were hooked, to­tally en­grossed in Harry Red­knapp’s crazy tales of yore and John Bar­row­man’s mad­cap an­tics.

The fol­low­ing night I called them and they came, the night af­ter I didn’t even have to re­mind them it was on. They jumped onto the couch with an as­sort­ment of snacks and watched good old fash­ioned fam­ily TV with their par­ents for an hour and a half.

It is amaz­ing what you can find out about your kids when they don’t have their heads stuck in a phone. We’ve had more chats in the last week than we have had in the last five years. And so there are changes afoot. From Christ­mas on there will be a so­cial me­dia ban one night a week in our house where they have to spend time with us.

They will prob­a­bly hate me and try to run away but I’m pre­pared to take the risk. They’ll prob­a­bly ban me from drink­ing wine as pay­back.

That will be fun!

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