Modern childhood milestones – mobile phones

This week we gave our daughter her first mobile phone. It’s as natural as first steps, or losing a first tooth, but I feel a bit sad about hitting this technological milestone.

Finally, we can all sit together as a family in the same room and chat silently with people who are not in the room. Cool.

A quick audit of main computing/electronic devices in our family of four people looks like this:

  • 1 x desktop
  • 2 x laptops
  • 2 x tablets
  • 4 x personal mobile phones
  • 2 x work mobile phones.

This is probably fairly standard these days for privileged middle-class urban types like us. (I haven’t bothered to add Kindles, digital radios and other paraphernalia.)

tomato

A healthy conversation about fruit and vegetables. 

Mobile phones at school

I’ve lectured my kids for years about (what I consider to be) the proper use of technology and the internet. E.g. “It’s all designed to be hugely addictive and your soft fresh young brains are no match for the shiny shiny digital temptation.” Or else: “Our bodies are NOT designed to be hunched over phones. ‘Text neck’ is a real thing!”

 [ Aside: A typical adult human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds. As the head tilts forward, the strain on your neck increases. At 15 degrees of forward tilt, this may equate to a head weighing 27 pounds. At 30 degrees forward, the strain on the neck equals a 40 pound head. https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/your-cell-phone-killing-your-back ]

It will be interesting to see how my kids will learn to deal with technology at school, as they aren’t allowed to use them during the school day.

My initial feeling is relief. No worries about theft, losing phones, cyber-bullying, cheating in tests etc. And school can be one safe place where there is respite from the unfair fight against evil purveyors of tech addiction …

However, my young digital natives need to learn to manage technology and devices appropriately. Especially when I’m not around with my passionate parental hassling.

Phone-less in transit

Right now, my dad is flying over to visit us from Australia. He forgot to bring his phone, so our immediate response was “How will we find him at the airport?!” Hmmmm; how did we used to do this before phones? Then my brother sent me a message: “Dad just called me from someone’s phone, he said to meet him at the hire car spot.” Just like the old days.

text conversation

This is what passes for conversation in our family.

 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

The invasion of the attention-snatchers. Using technology mindfully.  Does that sound like a phrase created by rich young white men in grey organic bamboo t-shirts? Turns out that I‘ve actually been doing it for years…  I wasn’t trying to be mindful, I just don’t like technology telling me what to do.

The Dark Side of digital time wasting. Lost : one incomplete Death Star. I have lost my Tiny Death Star. I’ve been working hard on adding levels for Emperor Palpatine since December, and tonight my 75% complete moon-sized battle station disappeared off my phone.

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