Has technology brought us progress or regression? Both. Doesn't it bring us closer to distant friends and relatives through telephone and internet? Certainly! It still amazes me, how cool it is that my kids can see their grandparents live, anytime, even though they are all 4000 miles away! And we have being using webcams for 5 years! With email, Orkut, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, Tweeter and so on, our lives has changed! And we can communicate not only at any time but with people anywhere in this world! With smart phones we can be connected to anything we want at anytime! While at the doctor's waiting room, the bedroom or even the restroom! You take a picture of your kids during an event at school, instantly email the pictures to your friends and relatives overseas and they respond timely via text message! Cool?! Yeah! And no!
There are many drawbacks of having all of this available to us. The major one is, that to be "connected" all the time, we are getting more disconnected then ever! We are so busy to keep up with all we've created for ourselves that we do not find enough time to be WITH people. Starting at our own home.
One day, I was at the park with my children when I noticed a little girl approach her mom, who was typing on her blackberry:
- Mom, can you push me on the swing?
- Sorry honey, mommy is busy. Can you go on the slide instead?
Then I looked around and saw a little boy "eating" sand... His mom? Talking on the phone, didn't even see it! Then I realized that every mom there, six to be exact, ALL, had their eyes, ears or fingers on their cell phones. None of them where actually there WITH their kids, they where just around them but not close to them or there for them! The poor girl didn't want to go on the slide, maybe because she doesn't like it as much as the swing, but maybe because she CAN do it by herself and at that moment she needed her mom closer, more present or simply WITH her! And it made me fell awful because I have done it too! So, I leave you with a question: what could be more important on our cell phones than the needs of our precious babies?
Since then, I have paid a lot more attention to what really matters in life! If multitasking has become part of your life, pay attention! It is not always appropriate! I know kids do not need you attention all the time, however most of the time they do. So, next time you take your kids to the playground, turn off your cell phones and enjoy them before they are 14 and they hang a sign on their bedroom door that reads "Keep Away!".
For more on spending quality time with your kids read my articles on imaginative play and activities ideas for spring break!
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