Oh boy! I usually like to be a beacon of light and positivity, but there were two separate occurrences recently that had me wondering what the heck are people thinking?
I took some children to a nearby farm that had a fantastic playground. It was a place where in the fall you go to buy pumpkins, kettle corn, fresh cider, donuts and then enjoy your goodies at the picnic tables while the kids run around the vast playground. This farm is a child’s dream, with climbing structures, swings, a rock wall, an old tractor to pretend to drive and multiple slides.
I saw a young girl, maybe in the 8-11 age range sitting on the swing looking at her smartphone. Hmmm. An anomaly? But then I saw not one but two or three other children running at breakneck speed, laughing and having fun (as children should have) but also with their cell phones in their hands.
Why does an 8 to 12-year-old child need a cell phone to spend a half hour playing on swings and rock walls? How do you even climb with one hand? When they run and fall and break the $600. phone will mommy and daddy just buy them another?
The second incidence happened a few days later when my husband and I were leaving a restaurant. We saw a mother with her two young (maybe 5-9 age range) children eating at a booth. Each child had a set of headphones on and a tablet with a movie playing. What?! How will this generation learn to communicate face to face? How will they know what it feels like to be unplugged? When will they learn table manners and etiquette? Most of my absolute favorite memories and stories I tell are taken from moments where the family had dinner together or went on a trip together. Having your children at a restaurant plugged into anything but you cannot be considered “together”.
I implore that parents take a look at what media is doing to your children. Take the media away during dinner, outdoor time and playtime. Learn what is really in your children’s hearts and minds. Connect with them in a way that no iPhone or gadget will ever do. These children are yours for such a short time. Teach them well and you will leave a legacy that you will not regret.