Last night at work, I had a man sit down and ask for three menus. He ordered a Corona and then went to the restroom. When I got back to the table with his beer, his two young boys were at the table. I asked them what they wanted to drink. The first kid asked for a Dr. Pepper. The second boy didn’t say anything so I asked him again. “Same thing as him.” “A Dr. Pepper?” Just to clarify, you know. “Yes sir.” Neither of the boys had looked up from their phone during this conversation. Are you kidding me? I said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa…” They looked up and laughed and said sorry, and I wanted to suggest they get off their phones long enough for a drink order, but I refrained. Not my monkeys, not my circus.
I despise people that live on their phones. When I am driving to work on I-45, I see people on their phone. At red lights that turn green, I see cars at the front of the line holding up traffic because the drivers are on their phone. In public places like Walmart or Target, people text and walk without ever looking up to see what’s in front of them. I have been tempted to stop in front of them to see if they hit the stroller or not, but I don’t want to chance them falling onto the girls so I go around them. The one that really irks me though is when I am at work and I see families sitting at tables in silence because they’re all on the phone. I will never forget the look on this man’s face when he was with his daughter at a table of mine one night. During the entire dinner, she hardly looked up from her phone to talk to him. It broke my heart, and it looked like it broke his, too.
I feel like the internet has become this realm that people cross over into when they are on their phones. Liking, hash-tagging, retweeting, posting, pinning, or whatever else because at this point there are too many social media accounts to keep track of. More times than not, I see children under three years of age with an iPad or phone in front of them while they’re out to eat with their parents. You know what happens when their dinner is delivered? They throw fucking tantrums because they don’t want to stop watching whatever they are watching long enough to eat their dinner. I can’t stand it. That is not how I want Violet or Olivia growing up. If other children their age are already consumed with electronics and their parents aren’t limiting their time on them and stimulating them in other ways, it is going to be hard for them to make friends because the other children will have a harder time doing so. They won’t know how. The internet has replaced human interaction and it scares me.
I try to limit my time on the internet and there are days that I am more successful than others. However, I make sure I take the time to read to the girls at least once if not twice a day. Books. With spines and paper pages. Erik and I take them outside and let them watch Rose and Roman run around, or we load them up in the stroller and hit the block once or twice just to get out of the house. On the now very rare occasions that we go out to dinner, we stay off of our phones and we talk to one another, and when I cook dinner, we eat at the kitchen table. Oh, and we sure as hell don’t get on our phones under any circumstance when the girls are in the car with us.
We can’t prevent technology from advancing, but we can absolutely limit how much it affects our relationships and daily lives, and we certainly can control how our children spend their most important years of growth. So please, put down the phone, go outside, and get yourself a breath of fresh air. Any day spent living is a beautiful day.