Okay, stop. This technology shaming is getting completely out of hand. We parents feel bad enough about our failings without being shamed every time we glance at our phone in the presence of our children. Here are some facts that I know to be true about raising children in a world where technology is literally and constantly at our fingertips. Some of you will disagree. Most of you are reading this from your phone and will nod in solidarity.
Times When it is Okay to Look at Your Phone
During Peer to Peer Pretend Play
If your child is playing with other children and heavily immersed in peer to peer pretend play, which is wonderful for their development, by the way. Go you, for setting up this play date. You may check your phone. You DO NOT need to direct their play. This would, in fact, stunt their creativity and you wouldn’t want to do that. Relax, you aren’t missing out on a ‘moment’ by glancing down at your phone to see if J.Crew has a sale on this week.
During Basketball, Dance, or Flute Practice
When your children are partaking in the lessons you spend a fortune on to ensure they are well-rounded, you have every right to take a breather and check the score. If it isn’t the big game, or the recital, than you should be fine to take a break from watching every move they make. No one would look twice if you cracked open your copy of Bleak House but reading the ‘funniest tweets from women this week’ garners you some serious judgment.
When Your Children Are Having Screen Time
Stop pretending that you wouldn’t hear of it. Whether it is Walt Disney’s Biography or the latest episode of Dino Truck Posse our children enjoy a little screen time, too. Don’t overdo it, of course, but if you feel that you have to watch every episode of the aforementioned Dino Truck Posse along side your child, than you’ll be punishing yourself enough for that screen time you snuck in at their Karate class. Take the thirty minutes to get your Candy Crush on, or whatever you’re into. The laundry can wait.
Times When it is Not Okay to Look at Your Phone
I’m not going to say I’ve never slipped up in this area but I will say that I always feel really bad when I do. Meal time, whatever that means for your family, should be a technology free time to talk and connect with each other. This is not as easy as it sounds, so allow yourself a slip up now and then. Otherwise, try and maintain a no technology rule when you eat. You’re kids will grow to love this time with you.
While Walking Down the Street
Seriously, just don’t do this. If you have your child by the hand or in a stroller and you are navigating the outside world you should have your eyes and your full attention on your child. This goes for waiting at the crosswalk, too, so don’t think you can sneak a peak.
When Your Kids Are Asking For Your Attention
Seems obvious enough, right? If your kids are reaching out and your nose is stuck in a phone they might start to think that phone is more important than they are. Show them you have your priorities straight and there is nothing in this world that could be more interesting than whatever they have to say at that moment.
Likely, there are other times when phone use is frowned upon (wedding, job interview, funeral) but that’s another list altogether. Technology shaming has gone too far, in my opinion and we need to stand up and say: “I know how to use my technology appropriately, thank you very much!” Besides, who’s watching their kids while they are busy shaming us?