Recently, I had a realization that many adults use pacifiers. More commonly referred to as a PDA, smart phone, or tablet computer, most adults, teenagers, and tweens for that matter, are carrying around some electronic device like an infant carries a binky.
I am proposing that smart phones and the like have become a handicap or crutch to social interaction. They allow us to avoid eye contact; they keep our hands busy and our mind occupied. Checking emails, updating Facebook and perusing the internet removes us from the here and now. It is a “socially accepted” means to remove our self from the present moment and the presence of others.
Certainly we are not mindful of what we are doing, and the fact that so many are doing it, can not make it less rude or anti-social. Once I became conscious of this phenomenon, I see it everywhere. I recently saw a family eating out at a restaurant with both parents and three children fiddling with their smart phones. My friend, a gynecologist, told me that texting had become such a common practice in the exam room, that she posted, “Please no texting during pelvic exams.” I laugh, knowing it is sad and true. PDAs are a convenient distraction and security blanket for adults.
With today’s technology and the want for constant stimulation of our children, the electronic habit is starting younger and younger. Parents give toddlers and tweens a PDA like giving a baby a pacifier – any time they are fussing, not to talk, or to otherwise soothe and occupy themselves. In today’s marketplace, smart phones can be a useful tool for information, and personal and business transactions. And at what point do we cross into the neverland of excess and waste, a state of consuming instead of creating, a habit as addictive as a pacifier?
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” – Robert Fulghum
I am raising my consciousness and giving myself limits. The addiction to stimulation, the need to be constantly entertained, wired, and connected is not what I want for me and my family. We have committed to leaving our smart phones in the car during a dinner out, a meeting, and any other occasion when the use might be socially accepted and emotionally inept. We have decided that at our home we will not text, email, Facebook, ping, IM, Skype from 6 o’clock to 9 o’clock p.m. We make our best effort to take care of business before the children wake up and during school hours, and if something must be addressed that night, it can probably wait until after the children are asleep.
My children are my highest priority and I want to make sure my actions reflect that, and not that whoever is pinging is more important. I want to share the art of conversation and the gift of presence with whomever I am with.
Love & Peace,
♣ I’m turning off now to go have a listen with my children.
You may also like: