I have nothing against screen time. I believe if the pioneers had invented Facebook, their kids would be playing Farmville, instead of, well, farming. Technology isn’t a scourge on modern childhood, it just is modern childhood. But, as much as I don’t sweat hours spent watching TV, or how many dollars I’m contributing to some YouTube kid’s college fund, there’s one device in our house which is hands off: my smartphone.
Sure, my preschooler manages to get his sticky, peanut-butter-or-some-other-mysterious-substance-covered paws on my phone on occasion. The lock screen baffles him, and after a few failed attempts to get inside, and no budging from me, he gives up and goes right for my husband’s phone (which isn’t locked. Seriously. I don’t get it either). My phone is always on lockdown. I’m even thinking of beefing up security with a retina scan and blood sample.
When the time came to update my device, my eyes lit up when they came across the store posters for the new iPhone. I thought, maybe this time I’ll splurge for the better camera, the ability to sync up my iTunes and retire my artifact of an iPod, and simply embrace the joys of owning the most popular smartphone.
Then my “rational thinking” voice spoke up and reminded me of the few times my son got his hands on my phone and took a million photos of his feet. That voice picked a fight with the “I want pretty things” voice, and luckily won out.
The sales guy even tried to convince me to get a version of my current phone which would make it “basically like the iPhone.” Whoa, I thought, let me stop you there. I don’t want something my three-year-old can figure out in two seconds.
I prefer my phone be as un-child-friendly as possible. I’m not sure I want it to be adult-friendly. For a whole week the clock on my old phone was set to Yekaterinburg, Russian time because I had no clue how to change it. That is exactly the level of confusion, I want in a smartphone.
Please just give me my Galaxy, with its removable back, because you know it’s going to freeze up on me and I’ll have to remove the battery and let’s be done with it. The Note? Are you kidding? Might as well give the phone right to my kid and say, “Enjoy your new doodling device.”
No thank you. I want my phone to be as unappealing to my child as the wrong-colored cheese, because I don’t want to share.
Here are five reasons why:
1. It’s one of a few small things I can call my own. As a parent, there aren’t many things I get to enjoy by myself. Even showers have become a spectator sport. With two curious children, I find it a lot easier to play around on Facebook, catch up on the news and follow my favorite parenting blogs on my phone than on my laptop, which screams, “Hey, come over and press a bunch of random keys!”
2. It’s my personal organizer. From creating grocery lists to jotting down reminders, my phone is my way of making sense of my chaotic life. I don’t need my preschooler messing around and accidentally deleting some important information.
3. It’s my creative space. I use my phone to keep track of ideas, work on old stories and play artist with its drawing app. Even this post was mostly written right on my phone. (See item one regarding laptop.)
4. It’s my social life. Getting together with friends is much harder with children. My phone is my best way of staying in touch and ensuring them I haven’t fallen into some abyss.
5. It’s my connection to the world. Unless Mickey Mouse starts reporting the news, (insert snarky Fox News comment here) I’ll have to refrain from keeping my television tuned to CNN. One quick scroll through my Facebook app, and I am updated enough on world affairs to hold my own at a dinner party.
Yes, my phone is my life. It is mine, and I’m not sharing.
So take the iPad, take the iPhone, I don’t care. Just stay away from my phone.