In recent weeks, many former social media moguls have been speaking out about the dangers of social media and how they feel guilt about what they helped to create. These thoughts were highlighted in a recent article in the Globe that I can’t stop thinking about. (Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy). I also saw that a few of my friends shared it on social media, so I see that many people are thinking about it too.
I am still in the process of making my New Year’s resolutions, and one of them is how to spend less time on my phone and more time engaged with what’s happening in the moment, especially with my kids.
Both my kids are in a sports program during the week, and I watched how one Dad there was constantly on his phone… mid-talking to his child and then completely interrupted by a notification or something on his phone. This must be so frustrating for kids. The following excerpt in the Globe article is heartbreaking:
One of the smartphone’s terrible, mysterious powers, from a child’s perspective, is its ability to “pull you away instantly, anywhere, anytime,” clinical psychologist Dr. Steiner-Adiar writes. Because what’s happening to the smartphone screen is inscrutable to others, parent often seem to have simply gotten sucked into another dimension, leaving their kids behind. “To children, the feeling is often one of endless frustration, fatigue and loss.”
At the sports class, I watched another parent give her child her phone to entertain him while he was waiting for his older sibling to finish his class. Wes was asking about it, and then the parent offered that Wes sit beside and watch. I politely declined – I’m sure it’s harmless but this class is going to happen every week and this parent might not always be here! I want Wes to be able to entertain himself… to talk to me, to watch his sister, to read a book. (Next week I’ll bring a book.)
So this article definitely has me thinking, what is so important that has us frequently checking our phone? For me, since I work from home and have my own business, I’m checking emails. Since I’m home with my kids in the afternoons, I’m texting and making plans with friends for play dates. And I’m also checking Instagram, a lot. Not really necessary.
One friend recently sent out a group text to let us know that from 3:30-9pm her cell phone will be off. She was making a huge effort to be present with her kids from after school until bed time. If we needed her, we could call her home phone (remember those?) I totally love this idea and was really inspired to try it too.
SO, what if my new year’s resolution looked something like this… LESS! Less checking. Less mindless articles on Facebook. Less scrolling through Instagram. I’m going to schedule the times that I’m looking at my phone and responding to messages and emails, to times where my kids are in school or sleeping, so that I can be so, so present with my kids. This is such a critical time of development for them where they’re learning so much from me and about the world around them. Let’s raise a society of kids that are more connected to people and feelings than technology and phones. What do you guys think? Comment below!
I also hope to write a blog soon about how I’m raising screen-free kids. (Yes, it’s true. So far, no Paw Patrol or Disney Princesses in this house. Stay tuned.)
Photo by Tofros.com from Pexels.