This article serves as something of a rant I guess. I have one question. What are all these parents doing on their phones?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m partial to wasting time browsing through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, my email, checking up on the news, reading the weather report for the seventh time in a day and blogging my rants, among other things, but I do that in a moment of solitude. I do that when little miss is fast asleep or being occupied by others. I do not do it when I am meant to be focusing my time on her. And there’s a reason for it. I don’t want to miss it! I don’t want to miss a single smile, fall, mouthful of sand or bite of tan bark. This isn’t about helicopter parenting, she can eat as much sand as she likes, this is about not wanting to miss one moment of the fleeting time I have with my little girl. So what is everyone else doing?
I go to the park with my little girl frequently. More often than not I see parents on their phones, and they’re not taking pictures with it, they’re entrenched in browsing through commentary on The Bachelor, checking that eBay auction or, I don’t know what. And I don’t care. Stop! One day you’ll wake up and your little one won’t be so little, and you will have missed it.
I’m not a Luddite, I love my iPhone, I’m just someone who believes that when you spend time with someone – child or not – you should focus your full attention on them (and I’m as guilty as anyone of sometimes checking my phone while I’m out socially, but I hold myself to a higher standard when it comes to my behaviour around my child). I even extended this to my partner. One day a week we have tech-free Tuesday, a night where there are no televisions on, no laptops, no phones, just conversation with each other. It can be excruciating (especially when you’re halfway through a season of Parks and Recreation), but we do it. Other self-imposed rules I have include not being on my phone around my child unless I have a text message, or someone else is occupying her. I don’t want her to compete for my attention with a phone. How ridiculous!
As I joyously push my daughter on the swing and watch other parents miss the sheer pleasure of watching their children make friends, swing from monkey bars and, yes, eat dirt, I can’t help but wonder whether people’s memories of their children are going to be limited to the Instagram pics they posted along the way. It breaks my heart. So, get off your phone, you’re missing it!