One of the most dramatic visible changes of our generation is the extension of a new digit on the end of our limbs. Rectangular in shape and causing vast periods of hypnosis due to it’s bright colours and bottomless pit of information. The smart phone. And with it comes a new wave of addictive tendencies…the constant crave for information at the palm of your hand that catapults us full throttle through the digital era.
As a parent, it’s got to be one of the things we all know we should be doing less, as we compare our own smart phone free childhood with the example we are setting to our kids. Harshly reinforced by moments such as your toddler telling you to ‘put your phone away Mummy’, or mimicking you with a plastic phone tottering around the house.
Yep, a big fat dose of Mum guilt just pied you right in the face.
So you put your phone face down, out of reach and walk away. But for how long can you really manage to leave the damn thing alone? Can you walk past your iPhone without pressing the big round circle, luring you in to see if anythings popped up? Like bees to a honey pot, it’s just irresistible.
The problem is, even with the best will in the world, our phones have become so intrinsic to our way of life. Used for so much more than just making a phone call – in fact, that’s probably the last thing you think of using your phone for these days.
Wondering whether to hang the washing on the line? BBC Weather app has the answer.
Struggling to remember when the kids swimming lessons restart? A quick scroll through your e mails on your phone will cross off that little worry. Why wait till later when you can eliminate one task of your mind list right this moment.
Going for a run? Phone in running strap to be sure to track distance, route and speed…whilst of course providing your run playlist. An hour later you still haven’t left the house because your app needed an update, and you had to charge up your phone. But, a silent technology free run? Shudder at the thought.
Out for the day? If it weren’t for your phones googling of postcode and navigation, would you even get there in the first place?
Reading the news on your phone is after all, no different to the olden days of folk actually bringing a newspaper home, is it? (Does the size of Kim K’s bum in that dress count as news?).
Baking with the kids? Thank goodness for that fave recipes page on pinterest…just don’t get flour all over my…Aargh, too late.
The apps on our phone are being used to track calorie intake, monthly cycles, bank accounts. Manage your utilities, holidays, tickets, groceries and infinitely more. The future is set to see us switching the lights off and on, heating up and down and god only knows what else through our little devices we used to phone each other up on, to say hello.
And that’s before we’ve even touched on the fun stuff. You know, the accounts you find yourself scrolling through when you opened your phone to google the name of that band you were just talking about. Yet, your hands muscle memory took you straight to facebook / instagram / twitter / insert social platform of choice here. We’ve all done it right?
Of course, we all have our vices, and for me, the biggy of the phone attachment is the camera. It’s nothing new of course – I’ve always been one to have a camera in my bag, so the sync of functions lens-into-phone is, if anything, highly practical. It does however, make the obsession with taking, tweaking and sharing images a little overbearing at times.
I know I need to use my phone less, feel more comfortable without it’s familiar place in my back right jeans pocket. I definitely need to be scrolling less and editing at the right time, and the right place. It’s hard though when you really don’t want to be watching Paw Patrol, and you can be instantly transported to a more fun mind space at the click of a button. After all, you’ve been flat out all day, don’t you deserve a little moment to yourself too? Isn’t it a little unrealistic to expect to be 100% focused on entertaining your children every moment of the day?
Perhaps, you just used that five minutes to reply to some messages, catch up on the multiple message groups you are in on and contribute to the conversation. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t qualify you for bad Mum of the year.
All these things are simple, practical, valued uses for our phones. keeping us in touch, managing our stuff, and centralising our information, new and old. For many of us, our phones are a necessity to being able to be around our children more than we perhaps could if we were less connected – by flexibly working and remotely carving a career in-between playdates and school runs.
I guess, my point is that whilst we all know we should be using our phones less around small children, it’s easier said than done, and there are worst things we can do than be googling how to get wee smells off the sofa whilst they’re happily playing in their homes, with their zillions of toys, in their own little world.
After all, everything’s okay in moderation isn’t it?