I’ve seen it a million times.
- A parent at the playground.
- A parent at the store.
- A parent at the ball field.
- A parent at the dinner table.
Between the meaningful gaze of a loving parent and the bright smile of a reciprocating child, a shallow interruption of a smartphone splashes between parent and child, disconnecting the connection between parent and child.
Yes, indeed. Facebook, Twitter, email and more. These attention takers are cued and ready to steal the most precious moments you have with your kids.
Don’t be that parent.
In a recent post for Time magazine, Dominique Browning argues kids know when their parents are paying them no heed (they’re no fools – the devices in ours hands give it away) and all these distracted adults are falling down on the parenting job. In fact, she laments the loss of the landline because we couldn’t take it with us, or go hands free without getting a crook in our necks. Even if hands-free technology has the sound of progress, it’s actually costing us our relationship with our kids, she suggests.
“[Cell phones have] become handy tools for avoidance, and it’s our kids who are getting the bad end of the deal,” she writes. “I’ve heard them begging their parents to stop, disconnect. I’ve watched children start to whimper the moment the mobile is picked up, off the dinner table.”
It’s cliche’, but true, kids grow up fast. If we don’t do something about our smartphone use now, it’ll be too late. I’m afraid our generation may be blinded by our own technology. It’s so shiny and new, and we haven’t properly evaluated the effects that it may have on our lives, let alone the effects it may have on our children.
I never want to be associated with the “throw away the television” kind of people. I’ve never liked being defined by what I was against, and I’m certainly not against using smartphones. I think they’re great! After all, I am the editor of a technology blog, so it would be nothing short of hypocritical for me to come out against smartphone use.
However, let’s be mindful of how often we check-in on our smartphone and take more time to check-in on our kids. Engage Twitter less and our children more. Consider turning it off and leaving it behind, before our kids have all grown and gone, and our only connection with them is through Facebook.
After all, if anyone should know how temporary the digital world is, it should be us.