Remember back in the day (but not too far back) where the only way to get in touch with someone was with a phone … with a cord? If you wanted any sort of privacy, you’d stretch that sucker as far as possible and lock yourself in a closet to attempt a quiet conversation. And if you wanted to know any sort of information, you’d have to listen to that wicked high pitch sound of the dial-up connecting you to the internet. Smart phones are awesome. Maybe too awesome.
It’s hard not to be on our phones. And while one of the main concerns of parents nowadays is how much screen time they’re giving their children, there’s something else, something more pressing, that you might not be thinking about: How much our screen time is affecting our kids.
“If I had to tell you what invention I don’t like, I would say that I don’t like the phone,” one of her students wrote. “I don’t like the phone because my parents are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habit. I hate my mom’s phone and I wish she never had one. That is an invention that I don’t like.”
Sigh. All you have to do is look around, maybe even look at your own families, to know how true this is. Families out for dinner and everyone’s on their phones, not talking to each other. Or you’re sitting in your family room, the TV’s on but no one’s watching. Because there’s something more compelling on that cursed handheld device.
While children will never know what it’s like to wait days for photos to be developed, probably won’t use a library’s card catalogue to find a book they’re looking for, or have to memorize all their friends’ phone numbers (and wait patiently to talk them if they get a busy signal), the biggest impact phones might have on them with is more about priorities than it is about convenience. Not knowing what it’s like to have family time not interrupted or ruined by a phone is the new reality.
What’s even more sad — and telling — is that of Beason’s 21 students, four of them gave a similar answer about their parents’ phones. In her Facebook post, Beason added the hashtags #getoffyourphone and #listentoyourkids. Message received, loud and clear.