|Image by Elvert Barnes Under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)|
I took Elliott to the park the other day. I sat and watched him squeal as he ran through the water fountains and got the cold water in his face. Every so often he would look over at me just to check I was there and to give me a smile as if to say “Look Mum, I’m having the best time.”
After getting a bit sick of the water, the inquisitive child that he is, decided to toddle off to the other side of the park. As I chased him and then walked him back over to where I could keep an eye on him, I saw a couple of other young children playing on the playground and having a wonderful time. They were accompanied by who I’m guessing was their father. The father did not take his eyes of his smart phone the whole time, I’m surprised he didn’t walk into a pole. I see this all the time when I go to the park with Elliott, parents aimlessly following their kids around with their eyes plastered to their smart phones. Surely for the 30 minutes or so that you are there, your smart phone or whoever or whatever is on the other end can wait?
The amount of times Elliott calls out to me to get my attention because he wants me to watch him on the swing or see him go down the slide or because he wants my help is endless. If I had my face in my smart phone, it’s quite likely I’d miss that all together. What would Elliott think? Mummy’s ignoring me again? It must be OK to be on smart phones all the time? It’s not only that, kids can run away so quickly that you have to keep an eye on them all the time and isn’t it nice to just take the time out sometimes and savor the moments? If we had our faces in our Smart Phones every time we took our kids somewhere to play, we’d miss out on heaps.
And I hear people say “But before Smart Phones my parents didn’t really watch me, they were always doing something else and I’m ok”, well I feel sorry for those people and their parents.
I think it’s all about balance. I’m not saying never use your smart phones around your kids because there will be times when you need to take an important call or you may work from home whilst you have your kids in your care, it’s just how technology is these days and for which I am thankful otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging and writing. I guess what I’m saying is, give them your full attention when they need it the most, make one on one time and remember that you can’t get the time back. Show your kids you’re interested, that you’re watching, that you’re listening, that you’re present and that you’re a good role model. It’s good for you and it’s good for them.
How do you feel about smartphone use around your children?