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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy offers parenting advice

Hey parents, did you give your kids a PlayStation 4 or a digital tablet for Christmas or Hanukkah? Don’t forget to limit how much time they spend on those awesome things.

I’m not just saying that to be a hypocritical Scrooge on Christmas. I mean, I sometimes play my PS4 for 12 hours straight! I own five tablets!

But I feel enlightened today, after talking with singer-guitarist Scotty Morris about America’s tech hypnotization. (His very fun band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will play Christmas shows Monday and Tuesday at The Orleans.)

“I have a young son (age 13) and I’m doing everything I can to keep that kid engaged with humans,” the engaging Morris told me.

“I don’t have PS4 in my house. I don’t have Xbox. My son has an iPad, and he’s allowed to use it for 30 minutes when he’s done” with homework or extracurriculars.

You could be thinking, “Gee, what does a popular swing band/big band star from California make his kid do?”

“He plays piano, since he was 5,” Morris said. “He’s been drumming since he was born. I have him in martial arts. He’s been doing dance classes since he was as little kid, because his mom was a dancer, and his grandfather was a principal ballet dancer for the Vienna Opera.”

So instead of letting his teen tech his life away — or even play Little League — Morris and his wife have instilled entertainment skills in their progeny, because “those are our priorities.”

Those priorities include encouraging their son to be socially engaging for his own good, now and in the future.

“When we go to parties, and there’s salsa music on, my son,” Morris said proudly, “he can dance, so he can get our there and do it, and he has confidence.”

I told Morris his son is going to be a Casanova.

“If he so chooses,” Morris said. “I explain that to him. I’m like, ‘The reason I’m torturing you now is: The benefits when you are an adult are going to be so much greater than you going to your tablet to find enjoyment. You’re going to go out in the real world and search for human contact, instead of gratification from a computer.’  ”

Morris is also determined not to let their son quit things impulsively.

“Stick-to-it-ness is the kind of thing we have to instill in our youth,” Morris said. “It’s so easy to click on another page. If they don’t like what they see, they can just click on another page.”

By the way, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy — featured in “Swingers” and tons of TV gigs for decades — is a badass band to see live.

This weekend’s shows are post-Christmas holiday concerts, as performed by this band that has recorded two holiday albums.

What’s their most popular Christmas song onstage?

“Dude, ‘Heat Miser’ is the killer. That song is almost unbeatable,” Morris said, although he also loves “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” and their horn version of “We Three Kings.”

“It’s a good show. I’m proud to walk off that stage, every night.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

 

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