Put Down the Phone

Fall collage

Have you seen this beautiful video calling us all to put down our smart phones and live in the moment?

And perhaps you remember Hands Free Mama making a run through our Facebook feeds?

They’re talking to me and millions of other parents. I am so desperate to cling to the magic of my kids’ early childhood that I find myself constantly reaching for my phone to snap a moment. Losing memory of this (now) feels like a great tragedy. Plus, with family so far away, it helps me feel a bit more connected to share photos of little day-to-day landmarks. Especially because it’s so easy.

Recently I tried to hunt down a photo of my oldest as a baby, holding conference with a Big Bird toy. After hours of searching everywhere, I’ve deemed it lost. But I still remember it.

Once Walden struck up “Old MacDonald’s Farm” at the dinner table. Bertie chimed in with “ya-ya-oooo” and shouted “DUCK!” every time the song reached the line “he had a…” This was a pretty exotic farm, filled with a variety of domestic and wild animals, and it was just the cutest, funniest thing the two have them have ever done. No one ran off for a phone to take a video, which made me feel a bit sad – really, it would have broken the internet harder than Kimmy’s a$$ – until I realized that it’s a very special memory that my little family gets to share together. I don’t need 100 Facebook likes to confirm it. It was really, crazy cute.

I often drift off to Facebook on my phone when I get a bit bored waiting for my tea to steep, or if the kids are playing nicely together. It’s where my mom friends around the world hang out when they’re in that moment, too. Facebook is our commons, which is nice to have when we feel trapped at home. But it’s easy to get sucked in and lose track of time. Once you’re there it’s easy to stiff-arm your kids for juuuust another second so you can finish that comment you’re typing. Without thinking, you’re abandoning a chance for a real-life connection for the sake of connection with people you may never see face-to-face. Is it worth it?

My kids are so conditioned to seeing my phone in my hand that they say “cheese” and turn away the second I pull it out. They hand it to me if they see it sitting within their reach. It’s an integral part of our household technology – we don’t have a land line – but I wonder if I’m not spoiling many of our moments with it.

Do you feel the same way?

I’m going to revisit my own rules for social media use and hold myself accountable to them. Then I’m going to check in just once a day over winter break. I’d bail on social media entirely if it weren’t a hub for social planning. And if I want to snap a photo? I’ll grab the actual camera. Will you join me?


One thought on “Put Down the Phone

  1. Yes, Lynn! I just finished reading a book called “Growing Up Social,” where it talks about raising kids who are actually physically social amid this electronic society. I’m pretty good about not being on the computer when my kids are awake, but the phone is very tempting. You have it on because you think your husband might text, or you just want to check your email real quick. Ugh, it sucks. But I asked myself, Do I want my kids to think that the phone is more important than them? No. Of course, there’ll be days where they have to realize the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that it’s okay for mom to check the phone. But it shouldn’t be so much that they would think to surrender the attention they’d get because the phone is almost most important.

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