Put Down the Cell Phone, Sir, And No One Gets Hurt

My wife and I were lying in bed last night, laughing about how pervasive and at times annoying, technology has become. How did the topic come up? I had shared a new Chief Marketing Officer study with her that delved into the “Internet of Things” or “IoT” as our acronym obsessed culture has come to know it. It was her first exposure to IoT, so I explained that it is essentially the connecting of everything imaginable so that we can collect data for continuous feedback and improvement. She then suggested that we change one letter, and refer to it as the “Internet of Thongs”, or that perhaps we should consider starting our own business to sell and market “Smart Thongs”. If you’ve heard the Dads on Doody podcast, I’m the one who is snickering all the time. I’ve been snickering for the past twelve hours since my wife’s comments.

TECHNOLOGY AND PARENTING

So where does all of this technology and connectedness leave us a parents? Most of the time in a really crappy place, as the majority manifests on our cell phone…which we are unable to put down (self included). It’s highly possible that mine is actually growing into my hand. I look at my phone first thing when I wake up, any time I’m at a stop light, while I’m peeing, etc. Hell, if I feel it buzz in my pocket I essentially stop everything to find out what critical email, text or phone call has arrived. I’m not that important. Sometimes I hear it buzz in the middle of the night, resting just inches from my head, having to fight myself to check as it gently continues work on my brain tumor. What am I doing?

Cell phone stuck to the author's hand

The author’s hand/phone monstrosity.

Look around at any activity your child attends. Chances are that 50% of the parents are staring at their cell phone and NOT their children. We are actually making a choice to exist in digital worlds that don’t include our kids. On second thought, they include digital versions of them, but our kids aren’t participants in that process other than posing for our next post. Ironically, these digital worlds likely include the other adults at the activity we are attending. We are probably Facebook friends. We might even “like” each other while we are not watching our kids together. Meanwhile, our kids keeps looking over and we don’t even notice. Our phones are apparently more compelling.

We are actually making a choice to exist in digital worlds that don’t include our kids.

CALL TO ACTION

Let’s put our cell phones down. We’re not only hurting our kids, but we’re hurting ourselves. Leave it at home the next time you go out with your kids. Guessing they’ll silently LOVE it. How about the next time you go out with your significant other? Imagine a car ride where neither party has to be a third wheel to a phone for an entire evening? But what if we need to make an emergency call? Chances are there will be a phone you can borrow within a one foot radius. Or, you could live dangerously and use a pay phone in a pinch (I’m being serious, those are dangerous…have you touched one lately?).

Worst case scenario? You miss a social media thread or have to return a call or text later. Be case scenario? Freed from your phone, you see a whole new world of possibilities…like starting a business that sells Smart Thongs. I realize that is a best case, but you have to dream.

Enough talking. Onto the hard work of being the change I want to see in the world and figuring out how to put my own damn cell phone down.