It’s a boy!’ said a very proud father whilst he was on the phone to his mother.
I’ll take a picture and send it to you via Whatsapp. Don’t put it on Facebook yet, i’ll let you know when you can share it!’
‘Hi mum, i’ve shared a picture of him on Facebook so feel free to share on your Facebook and I don’t mind if you put it on Twitter. We haven’t named him yet but i’ll let you know, can’t wait to tell everyone his name on Facebook. I bet he’ll get more ‘LIKES’ and ‘LOVES’ than any of my other posts!’
There it is, from the moment a child is born, many of us want to share with the world how beautiful they are, we are proud parents, we can’t wait to tell everyone. Our smart phone storage capacity is very quickly filled with precious moments of the children we adore and would lay our lives down for. Snap shots and selfies of so many occasions so that we don’t miss those moments that go by so quickly. They hit the first year and suddenly we’ve accumulated so many of these photos, many of them repeats of the same picture – just to be sure that we get that perfect shot.
‘I’m going to print these pictures soon and frame them, put them in an album…………’
Year 2 and more photo’s accumulating,
‘I’ll make sure they are backed up for when I print them………’
So many beautiful precious moments not to be missed, but how many of us, without realising, are missing the precious moments with our children because of our smart phones???
Take a 4 year old boy, it’s the beginning of the summer holidays, so much excitement in his eyes, so much joy in the knowledge that he will be spending extra time with his family. Maybe an outing together, or a holiday or enjoying his family home playing games and surrounded by those he loves most.
‘Mummy’, he says
‘Just one minute sweetie, let me just finish……..’ Mummy replies.
‘Wow’ the little boy thinks, ‘Look at that shiny phone and all the buttons, I wish I could play with it as much as my mummy does’.
The little boy is thrilled, he is going to a farm to see and learn about all the animals, and may even get to hold a rabbit. He can’t contain his excitement.
‘Johnny’, says the mummy,
‘Come here and stroke the rabbit’ mummy says whilst she holds her phone in one hand and the push chair in another.
‘Sit there next to the young boy that looks after the rabbit’s, that a good boy’ mummy says.
He sits, and mummy watches her little boy through her smart phone for a split second and takes a picture, making sure she ‘captures that moment’.
‘Good boy Johnny, come along’, and before Johnny knows it they move onto the next opportunity for a photo snap.
‘Oh’, Johnny thinks to himself, I thought that young man would tell me all about the rabbit, I thought my mummy would ask me the rabbit’s name, I wanted to tell my mummy what the fur felt like, I wonder what rabbits like to eat………’
A little girl goes to the park with daddy, she can’t wait to show him how high she can go on the swing.
‘Weeeeeeeeeeeee, look at me daddy’ the little girl loves it when daddy pushes her and helps her get REALLY high.
‘Daddy’s quiet’, the little girl thinks, she turns her head,
Daddy is definitely there in person, he is pushing with one hand and with the other holding his smart phone, scrolling through all the important stuff.
Another little girl is in the park, she is happy to play on her own but knows that her mummy and daddy are watching so makes an extra effort to impress them as she plays.
Mummy and daddy like taking their little girl to the park, she can run free and burn off all that energy she has built up that morning.
Mummy and daddy stand in the park whilst their little girl makes extra effort to impress them and take the opportunity to check their emails, whilst they are on their phones they ‘check in’ to let everyone know how much fun they are having with their little girl.
‘It’s time to go on holiday today, wahooooooooooo!!!!’ said the young boy.
‘I’ve packed my toy bag and books for the journey, can we get sweets on the way Mummy, pleeeeaaaasssee!!’ He said.
‘Yes love.’ Mum says.
In the car Dad is concentrating on the road, mummy is sat in the passenger seat quietly with her head down. Music is playing.
‘It’s a long way to the caravan’, the little boy thinks.
‘I’m starting to get bored’, he continues in his thoughts. As he thinks, he remembers when he was very little when mum and dad used to play I Spy with him, and sing songs to pass the time, or EVEN have a little chat.
‘Some of my friends have ipads to watch a film when they go on holiday’, he thinks.
‘Maybe because i’m a bigger boy we don’t sing songs together in the car anymore, i’d still like to play I Spy with my mum and dad, that was fun, but I won’t say anything in case they think i’m a baby. Maybe because i’m a bigger boy i’m supposed to sit quietly and keep my thoughts to myself. Yes, that’s probably what makes me all grown up. Anyway, my mum is very busy on her phone, I probably shouldn’t bother her, it must be really important. I can’t wait till i’m old enough to have a smart phone so I can sit in my room and play with it. My mum doesn’t read books in the car like she used to.’
If I were a child now, I would wish that I was a smart phone, they get so much attention, and seem so important and special.
I can personally relate to some of the examples above, I am not proud of it, and would even go as far as saying that there are addictive tendencies in my nature when it comes to the smart phone. So, after my experience today, my eyes being opened to the potential ways in which the smart phone could be impacting my children, i’m putting it away, i’m not going to allow those ‘quick checks’ on facebook, emails, twitter and all the rest, to subtly have a detrimental effect on my children.
These examples are just my perception of what I could see from the outside looking in on different situations, of course, we may be waiting for a call, needing to check an important email, wanting to make sure someone we are meeting knows where we are and i’m sure there are many other reasons why we might have to take that quick look at our phone, but I also believe that we need to be wise and remember that our children are watching our every move. We set the examples.
‘Our children are watching us live, and what we are shouts louder than anything we can say.’ Wilfred A. Peterson
‘Children are natural mimics – they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach the good manners. Anonymous.