Dumb It Down

Cell phones.

They are convenient destruction.

We as adults completely abuse the phone. The convenience of it is totally ridiculous. Directions? Ha! I have lived in this house for a year and I am just now weaning myself off of maps every time I need to get outside the city lines. That was not how I lived Before Phones – BP.

I actually used to KNOW a phone number. And not just my significant other’s. Right now if my life depended on it, I would have zero clue how to call my mother. I don’t know her phone number because my phone knows it. I couldn’t get a hold of my family if my phone fell in the ocean. I do not know anyone’s phone numbers.

When I was a 12 year old girl I knew dozens of phone numbers!

The convenience is a necessity nowadays, yes. My email is right in my hand. My movie tickets are in my phone. My grocery list is in the same device. Everything is contained in the same place, but what is the cost?

The cost is the model we are setting for the next generation. The generation that is already addicted beyond our levels. I can actually put my phone away for a couple of hours and not twitch. I’m not so sure a 16 year old can do that right now.

My issue at the moment is my twelve year old son. He inherited one of our old phones when my husband and I upgraded. It was supposed to be temporary, but the longer he had it, the more convenient it became. Grandma watching the kids & she doesn’t get cell service? That’s ok, we can contact through his phone.

Going to a friend’s house? Take your phone! Call me when you need a ride. Going to practice? Take your phone! Call me if there’s an issue and I need to come get you.

Ohmygod. How is he prepared to think for himself or make an independent decision? It’s like teaching a toddler how to walk, but always keeping them in the stroller.

The past month we have discovered that my son may have lost a friend due to lack of communication over his phone. To be clear, the lack of communication is on both parties. The friend does not have a phone. The friend is bothered that when my son goes to play, if there is a wait for a video game, or a lull in a game, my kid whips out his phone and goes into The Solo Bubble.

The friend trickled off and stopped returning hang out requests, started getting more busy with school and sports. I had to actually ask, “Is something going on? Did something happen?” and then I find out about the feelings towards the phone use.

Did the kid say something so my kid can fix it? No. After talking about it – and completely understanding the feelings, by the way – did the family give my kid a chance to redeem himself? No. Apparently for now they are just done.

These smart phones are dumbing down society left and right. Both sides of the phone, the kid using it and the kid being ignored have no idea how to communicate with each other to fix the problem. Its asinine. We need to teach communication in elementary school so that by the time they hit middle school, they are equipped.

My child has no business having this phone. I refuse to be the paranoid parent living every “what if” scenario in my head every time he walks out the front door. As it is he is not allowed to take it to school. Why does my kid need a phone on the school bus? Is he driving it? Does he need to YouTube how to drive a school bus? No. Does he need a map? No. He goes to school three miles away. It seems to me kids have been riding school buses for ages and they even managed it BP- before phones. Why now do we need to load them all up with technology that we then have to monitor and become disappointed when they inevitably abuse it.

My son cannot even manage to organize his bedroom. Somewhere he keeps all his treasures, his toys, his books, his underwear. How in the hell is he supposed to regulate his cell phone access?! Especially when he is surrounded by a sea of wifi. Phones are actually allowed at his school. The only caveat is they aren’t allowed to use ear buds or headphones because that discourages social interaction.

Uhhh, I don’t know if you have walked outside lately, but social interaction is a rare commodity, headphones or not. When was the last time you walked into a Starbucks and saw people chatting? …. without picking up and checking a phone screen.

We are creating a vast chasm in our kids in an area that is already riddled with pitfalls and danger. Communicating with other human beings is an art. It’s something I am still figuring out at 42. If I had the internet access and convenience my kids have now, I would have been a recluse at 13. I probably would have been a statistic, actually. I tend towards the introverted, isolated, dark side. It’s where I’m comfortable….. but not really. I feel more fulfilled and happy when I’ve been forced into a conversation that lasts more than 2 minutes. I feel relieved and energized when I’ve looked other breathing, feeling bodies in the eyes and received a smile or warm greeting.

Humanity cannot be sacrificed for turn by turn directions. Friendships cannot be severed because of likes and shares.

I cannot expect my kid to regulate himself on the use of a device I myself have become dependent upon.

The poor kid was told that i’m considering a flip phone for him. I might as well have him fill out his homework with a chisel and stone. …. but I can’t help wonder if there was a tiny, microscopic, shadow of relief that tinged those wailing cries.

Be sure to like and share my post!!
(she said with biting sarcasm at her own hypocrisy)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s