At 4am this morning my 2.5 year old woke up and walked into our room. After laughing that the cat was on our bed and waking us all up she then proceeded to head towards hubby’s bedside table to pick up his phone. Because 4am is an appropriate time to fuel your addiction to unboxing videos on YouTube…
But after the dust of telling her she couldn’t have the phone had settled, I lay in bed wide awake contemplating. All it takes is one moment of desperation where we give in and hand her the phone and the next week is spent fighting tears and tantrums trying to explain that she will get “boo boo’s in her eyes” if she has too much screen time.
And when I think about it, is it really any wonder that she wants to put her head down in a phone? After all, isn’t my phone hot property? Always on my person, whether that be in my hand, my handbag or within close reach on a table or bench? And what about all the people who eat at the cafes we visit or walk through the shopping centre with their phone in hand?
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Communications report 2014-15, mobile handset data downloads in Australia increased 84.8% from the quarter to June 2014 to the quarter to June 2015. This figure has been just shy of doubling, year on year since 2011. The number of smartphone users also increased by 11.1% from 2014-2015 with more than 20 million mobile internet subscribers in the country. With an approximate population of 24 million, that figure is mind blowing!
The purpose of this post is not to pile guilt onto your shoulders or to judge or shame parents for their phone habits. But given the huge role that mobile phones now play in our lives, and the sheer volume and usage that kids are exposed to, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that their prevalence has had an impact on our lives. Many positive impacts like being connected to friends all over the world like never before and having so much information at our fingertips. But what are we missing when we are scrolling through Instagram looking at photos of our friends kids? Or watching the latest hilarious video that we found on Facebook?
So this has prompted me to start asking myself a question: where is your phone? Awareness is the first step to making a change and that is what I want to do. Will you join me in asking yourself the question?
Where is your phone while you are driving? Is it safely tucked away in your handbag? Or in the cradle on your dash within arms reach? How often do you glance at it? Or quickly check something while you are stopped at the lights? Maybe even reply to a text message?
Where is your phone at night when you get into bed? Is it in the drawer or on the kitchen bench? Or is it in your hand, while you scroll through social media even though you got into bed an hour ago exhausted after a long day? When you wake up through the night and can’t sleep, do you just roll over to grab your phone and check if anything has happened in the four hours since you were last on Facebook?
Where is your phone when you are playing with the kids? Is it somewhere in the house, your don’t know where? Or is it in your left hand while you help the kids do puzzles with your right? Maybe you take a few selfies with the kids or a photo of them playing? Do you pick it up to quickly take the photos but then jump into other apps? Do the kids end up taking it out of your hands, “no phone, mummy,” they say?
Where is your phone while you are watching your kids at sport? Is it in your handbag or maybe you left it in the car? Or are you head down, phone in hands, only looking up when you hear the crowd cheering because a goal has been scored? Are you videoing your kids at the game or watching videos of cakes being made or compilations of cats doing adorable things?
Where is your phone right now? In your hand while you read this most likely, but what will you do with it next?
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