April 30, 2012

Where Is My Smartphone?

Don't get me wrong.  I love my Android.  It comes in handy on a regular basis.  The main five reasons off the top of my head why I love my phone:

1.  I never get lost anymore thanks to GPS and internet capabilities to look up an address when needed.
2.  I can find a Starbucks wherever I am.  (This is important.)
3.  I've never enjoyed talking on the phone, but I love texting.  
4.  I can browse Facebook, check e-mail, play a game, shop on Amazon, etc. while waiting for a doctor appointment or standing in a long line.  This is also handy when I'm pumping, which sucks up a lot of my time.
5.  I can look up movie times when I'm out to dinner.

So this post isn't anti smartphones.  Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you ditch your phone.

What I am suggesting is that you keep it off or out of sight while your children are awake.  Here is why:

1.  When my phone is out it is too tempting to catch up on Facebook or check "one last" e-mail.  What's more important, responding to that e-mail or watching my child cross the monkey bars for the first time at the park?

2.  When we have our eyes glued to the phone we are telling our children that we value it more than them.

3.  If you have young children, how many times do you hear the phrase, "It goes by so fast," by older parents?  Do you want to look back and remember all the fun you had texting and tweeting, or do you want to look back and remember their smiles, the funny faces they made, the games you played, and their laughter as you chased them around the house?

4.  I want to instill confidence in my boys and teach them that they are my priority.  This post isn't about whether you work or stay at home.  It's about making the time you spend with your children quality.

5.  Every day I plan activities to do with my boys with the goal of raising creative, intelligent kids.  Everybody knows that an excessive amount of TV and video games lowers IQ.  When the TV is off, children have to think and create their own fun.  Their imagination is broadened.  They have the opportunity to explore.  If I set the example and have my phone off, they aren't as likely to be drawn to media for entertainment.  If I am addicted to my phone, they will see it as something worthy of my attention.  Which example do you think I want to set?

This week is Screen Free Week.  While I was evaluating if and how I would participate it occurred to me that we already are a largely screen free house.  No we aren't screen free, but we are a limited media household.  What does that mean?  
Most days my kids don't watch any TV at all.  Some days they request to watch a show.  Sometimes when life is out of whack they watch a bit more.  (Like when I was pregnant, or sometimes when we are traveling.)  Most of the time, the TV is off.
Other than JZ's LeapFrog Leapster Explorer which he plays maybe once a week, my boys don't play video games.  (When my sister comes to town he constantly asks to play Angry Birds on her phone, LOL.)
The biggest change we have made in the past year is with my phone.  That's what prompted this post.  I used to have it with me always and respond to e-mails, Facebook comments, message boards, and texts within minutes.  I realized that this time in my life is way to precious to be filled with distractions.  Yes I'm still online quite a bit (hence the blog), but I choose to keep my computer and phone off when my boys are awake unless I am nursing or my husband is home and playing with them.  It used to be a discipline to keep off my phone.  Now I hardly ever know where it is, and I honestly don't care.  I'm way too busy playing with and caring for the most precious blessings I've been given.

I'd like to encourage you to evaluate what is taking up your time and make changes that are right for your family.  Or maybe you've already implemented positive changes.  I'd love to hear your stories.

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