Going without my iPhone for one entire day made me realize how much I depend on it in the course of the day. Which made me wonder how much my kids do or will resent this little black piece of electronic in the future.
Because basically every single time I am not present with them, I am instead looking at my iPhone.
On any given day, I can use my phone to:
- Check in on my ‘friends’
- Read the news
- Find a recipe
- Play games
- Let my kids play games
- Teach my girl to read
- Read a book
- Read blogs
- Check the weather
- Watch YouTube, TV and/or Movies
- GPS-get directions, track running, find an address
Now, back in the day, parents would do all these things as well. Only they would call their friends and chat endlessly. They would read a newspaper in the morning and a magazine or book later on. They would drag us along to do their banking and shopping and stop and chat tirelessly along the way to socialize (and/or gossip) with friends. They would watch TV on the TV and listen to the radio for the weather report. They would stop and ask for directions unless they were stubborn and then they’d just swear a lot and throw the useless map book around. They might, if we were lucky, play a board game with us on a Friday night, but quickly, so they could get to poker with friends.
They would do everything we do now, only dispersed amongst a variety of things. Now we do them all with one device. Which leaves me to wonder, with such a specific target that is so obviously distracting our time away from them, will our children grow up resentful of the smartphone (or tablet or laptop for that matter?)
The thing is, we have to get these things done. I have to bank. I enjoy reading the news with a cup of coffee in the morning. I need that recipe to buy ingredients and cook tonight. All of these things I would do regardless if I had a smartphone or not, only then I’d be dragging them to the bank and hiding behind a newspaper. So I shouldn’t feel guilty. Right?
The beauty of the smartphone era is, life is more convenient. I can read the news, bank, shop and find my way far faster than I could have before. Which frees up so much time to be more focused on the kids.
Only now we also have blogs to read, facebook and twitter accounts to check/update, and scores of games to distract us.
How many times did I check Facebook and curse Angry Birds today? Suddenly all that extra time is being negated.
So I am still left to wonder, how is staring into my iPhone effecting my children?
Regardless of whether I am being productive or not, my kids can’t tell the difference of whether I am banking or gaming, looking for tonight’s dinner or perusing a blog. They only see me staring down into a screen. Not paying attention to them.
My parents didn’t pay attention to me either. A lot. In fact, I would say I am much more mindful and present with my kids than they were. But they also didn’t have one thing that kept their attention away from me. I saw them doing numerous things in a variety of ways scattered throughout the day. When my kids see me doing these same numerous things, it is in one way.
That, I think, can build resentment.
That, I think, is what our generation is going to learn very quickly.
I can only hope that our increased awareness to be more present with our kids, will also alleviate some of the repercussions of that.
Time will tell.
Or is there an app for that too?