I’ll tell you what’s funny! Walking in the afternoon past cars that are parked in front of school buildings. Parents inside the vehicles are waiting for the school bell to ring and I bet you won’t find anyone not looking at their phone! I guarantee you that they all are. Yesterday I walked past at least 10 cars and inside all of them, there was a mommy or a daddy fiddling with their little gadget.
In this matter, there’s two things that I find interesting:
- Good for some parents. The car provides a comfortable and cozy shelter against wind, rain and socializing.
- And a question: what did parents do before mobile phones during the extra 10 minutes that they had to wait for their kids? I have no idea. I guess they just stared in the distance and listened to the radio.
Some weeks ago, I posted on Facebook an animation by Steve Cutts that deals with people being almost hypnotized by their phone. It’s rather sad and disturbing. As I’m engaged with the topic in the role of a researcher, I see the problem with phones identical to anything else in life when one forgets sanity and modesty. One needs to stay conscious and critical about their own lives. There’s a time and a place for fiddling with the phone. And come to think of it, maybe the parked car while waiting for kids is not that bad after all. Except if there’s another kid in the car with the parent!
I know at least eight people that have refused to buy a modern phone or have switched back to an old Nokia. I’ve asked them for a reason for doing so and they’ve told me in general, that it’s about time management. In the background, it could be a predicted fear of addiction, lack of interest or even the will to change the substance and quality of life. Keeping the old phone or switching back to using it without the option of millions of applications and functions makes time management simpler; Now I use my phone to talk, now I use my camera to take a photograph, now I need a map to get to the swimming hall and finally I must find a flash light because it’s getting dark and so on… OK, it doesn’t necessarily make life easier, but simpler and unambiguous in a way – one gadget for one purpose.
As a husband, parent and a friend, I try to avoid spending time with the phone in social situations. It goes without saying, that for example during a guys’ night out (btw, which we call FGF = Friends of Good Food) the phones are left out. They’re not welcome. To be fair, we might take a group photo at some point but that will take around a minute of the whole time that we are together. It is important to weigh out the importance of being present and mindful with the people around you. With kids, staring at the phone all day long not only neglects the attention that kids need, it also gives them a bad example.
Regarding having a partner in life and a relationship, I’ve heard that in some families the late evening is spent by both playing with their own gadgets sitting on the sofa side by side. Every single night. Sounds romantic!
So may it be smoking, drinking, fast food or mobile phone use – I wish you sanity and modesty.