“As I sat quietly in the corner of the room I tallied how many times they looked at me for various reasons: to see if I saw their cool tricks, to seek approval or disapproval for what they were doing, and to watch my reactions,” she wrote. “I couldn’t help but wonder if I was on some sort of technology what message would I have been sending?”
Here’s the thing…
What if I’m holding a book in front of me? A newspaper? A scientific journal? What if I’m writing a letter with a pen and paper? Crocheting a scarf? Drawing a picture? Writing checks to pay bills?
Adults have never been immune from distractions. So why is it that the smart phone or tablet are so demonized and not all these other things?
What do I do on my phone? I pay bills, look at my checking account balance, use my calculator, check the weather, make a menu and shopping list, find recipes and craft ideas, buy birthday presents, research products, read the news, read about specific topics of interest, talk to my friends and family members, take pictures, edit pictures, share pictures, order prints, “color” pictures to relax, write a blog (modern-day journal), read reviews, look up phone numbers, get directions, read about illnesses, listen to music…
And so, so much more!
A smart phone is a tool; it is not inherently good or evil. It is not just for taking selfies and reading through a news feed on Facebook where you have 500 “friends”. Maybe the people who take advice to set down their phone to heart are the ones who feel guilty because they’re using a several hundred dollar handheld computer as a time-waster. Personally, I don’t feel guilty about my use of my phone. I know that I’m using this tool responsibly. I know that I have balance. I have no trouble setting it down at a moment’s notice and leaving it there for as long as it needs to be ignored.
Blaming a smart phone for your being distracted from your kids is no better than blaming a gun for killing someone. You are responsible for your choices, not some inanimate object. Technology is not to blame for a lack of connection between parent and child; your choices are to blame. It’s a lot easier to sidestep the guilt of owning your actions and blame something else, isn’t it? But placing blame extrinsically is a great disservice to yourself. Swallow your pride, admit your faults, and decide to change.