Simple Living · Uncategorized

Why I don’t let my kids play with my cell phone…

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There are a million different apps for kids. I do not own any of them and here is why. I have to force myself to put my phone down sometimes because I get sucked in to Facebook or Instagram just like everybody else. I’ve made a conscious decision that my cell phone will not rule tyrannically over my life. It will not be my constant companion or the thing that makes me feel connected to the world. I will connect with the world by speaking to people and spending time with them. (Hopelessly old fashioned, I know.)
I do have my cell phone with me a lot because it is also my camera. I try not to constantly check it and not to be physically holding it all the time. I make sure that when I’m spending time with my kids, I’m really spending time with them without distractions. I don’t want to be nodding my head but not really listening because I’m so engrossed in the tiny screen in front of me.
Essentially, wherever I am, I want to be all there. I want the same for my kids. I want them to learn to sit quietly and wait without having to have a distraction. I don’t want them to be constantly asking to play with my phone. The tiny screen is just as addictive for them as it is for me and I want to shelter them from that.
I’ve noticed that people in our culture need constant stimulation. Hardly anyone can sit through a traffic light without looking at their phone. We’re just as ADHD as our kids. We can’t focus on one thing at a time and we can’t be at peace with our thoughts. We face a pernicious sense of boredom unless we are continuously fed a stream of information and entertainment. I believe this is extremely unhealthy for us. It contributes to the pervasive, insidious ennui of our culture where nothing is ever enough and no one is ever satisfied.
Additionally, we are increasingly disconnected from each other even though we know more about each other’s lives than ever before. We post pictures of the minutiae of our day- what we ate for breakfast, the funny face our kid made, what the dog hurled up on the kitchen floor. But we lack the genuine sense of community that many of our parents had with their neighbors. We pay strangers for things that we used to do for our neighbors for free.
I’m going to hold my kids back from the tyranny of the cell phone as long as possible. I hope to teach them how to talk to people before they learn to text. The world is majestic and extraordinary. I want my children to explore it and retain their sense of wonder. I hope that they will learn to sit quietly and listen to the birds or watch the sun go down. I will feel that I have succeeded as a parent if my children can be content with ‘small’ and quiet things. After all, isn’t that where the joy in life comes from- learning contentment and peace of mind?

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