Posted: 2012-10-08 08:25:12 By: Joanne Oppenheim
Fortunately the screen did not crack. I thought at that moment of a Fisher-Price smart phone case we recently reviewed that is made to protect just such events, but would be far too babyish for this family. And I couldn't help thinking how glad I am that I missed parenting in this age of multiple screen distractions. It may be that the precocious child was playing with an app designed for toddlers. My guess is he was doing nothing more than making things happen by moving photos on the screen. Whatever he or his brother were doing, their interactions at the dinner table had nothing to do with each other until something went wrong.
Though I can no longer imagine a world without my own smart phone, computer, and other devices, I have to admit I am glad they did not exist when I was raising my own children or eating out with grandchildren. When I think of that little family that barely talked to each other, I can imagine a time not far off when these same parents will be telling their kids to put their cells away and scolding them to "be present" during the limited time when the whole family is together.
Years ago it was mostly poor families that did not have a dinner hour when the family sat together and talked about the day. Often children from such homes came to their early school years with less language than those who came from homes where families shared more than food at the dinner hour and read books aloud to children...even to those who could read.
Affluence has given us a new deprived class of kids. As always, the problem is not in the technology...but how we use it.
Recently we received a new device to review for the holiday season. It's not really a toy, but a cage with a timer that locks up cell phones so that the family will actually interact with each other rather than their electronic devices. Maybe that is the best gift you can give your family this holiday season...time to be a family.