Why I finally put my Smartphone down

Subject: Why I finally put my Smartphone down
From: A Concerned Parent & Smartphone Reformer
Date: 6 Aug 2015

Dear Smart Phone Enthusiasts,

I have a 21 month year old daughter named Alexa. Everyone calls her Alex. We also call her Pie. And Pie Crust. And Alexster Pie Crust when feeling fancy. The other day I had my phone, of course a smart phone with all the internet apps, available in my hand and Alex looked at me and said, “Mommy, Phone!” She didn’t just point at it, but demanded that I hand it to her. Of course my curiosity ate at me so I handed her the phone. Lo and behold, this child swipes the screen, starts hitting the center button, and once a keyboard arrived, get out of town, this girl is off to the races! At first, as a first time parent, I didn’t know what to think, is my child a genius?! Thankfully I was blessed with a brain and realized, no, my child is not a genius, she is the product of her upbringing. And I realized, yes, I am responsible for this child’s ridiculous technological superpower because I am more concentrated on the text messages, the Facebook pictures (all so cute), the emails, the phone calls, and even the weather apps (oh, so sad!) than my own child. How did this happen? I keep wondering this because I know when I grew up (circa 1986..not old) my parents had me out running the neighborhood, diving in pools, making tree swings (don’t even comment environmentalists, the trees were fine), throwing rocks, hiking, wading in ponds, biking..should I go on? I didn’t even know what a phone was, much less the technology of AOL until at least middle school. If I wanted to have a friend over, I used the corded phone in the kitchen and asked politely to my friend’s parents once they picked up without caller ID if my friend was home (I know, actual conversation had to occur!!). Can you imagine such a world?? So, I sit here and think how did this smartphone take over my time with my only child?!

Invention…selfie stick. No, of course I don’t blame the selfie stick for my pie crust’s obsession for flat screens, but I am diving into why the stick was invented. Without a hungry consumer, an invention would not be created, right? So, who was the selfie stick invented for? I can’t hate on the stick because it is an awesome invention, but when you are walking down a busy street and you see a young person (or more likely a bored, old one) spending minutes with their stick getting the perfect angle and perfect reflection of the sun for their selfie to post on social media (come on, its not for mom), you may question, what has happened to us? And by us, I mean us! Have we seriously replaced enjoying actual moments for capturing “moments” for others to see? And I have to wonder, is everyone so narcissistic that they think their entire “friends” list on social media actually cares what they are eating or feeding their child at every hour of the day? Come on, is this real life? Have I fallen down the rabbit hole? What happened to waking up in the morning and thinking about going to the bathroom before posting a selfie?

So, this is my ode to my only child (but hopefully not my last baby). Dear Pie Crust, I vow to not let you grow up to treat a hand held device with more respect and more care than a human being. I prepare for the days of elementary school when your fellow friends have tablets and smartphones and you are stuck with pen and paper and the fights we will encounter. But please know it is for your best interest. It is for the sole purpose of you growing up to not inspire for a life full of selfie sticks or waiting patiently for notifications. This is for you to be able to speak with grace without having to text and live life without having to caption it. Most importantly, this is for you to know that the moments we share as mother and daughter every day are far more exciting and valuable in real life than any smartphone could ever capture. You will encounter on your journey through life that some people will live to show but you really need to live to live.