I find that more and more around my house, Will and I spend loads of time with our iPhones glued to our hands. We might be doing something “productive,” such as reading news, weather, or work emails (in my case). We also have a ton of cool apps which serve organizational purposes, such as one that allows us both to share grocery lists, “honey do” lists, and the like. Once upon a time, I would do a series of Sudoku puzzles every day, but I gave that up months ago due to lack of time and concentration.
Anyway, I used to get annoyed with my mom, Crispi, swearing she needed an iPhone intervention. Every time you looked at her she was glued to her damn phone. Then we got them. It’s really a shame. Now we’re afflicted. We get to eat so few meals together as a family and it seems as if at least one of us has an iPhone in hand while we shovel pancakes or eggs into our mouth. I’m about to ban iPhones at the dinner counter.
I’m not anti-iPhone (or smart phone). On the contrary, I think these gadgets will go down as one of the most influential inventions ever. I don’t know how we ever lived without them. But I suppose it’s kind of like social media: one has to wonder if the bad is beginning to outweigh the good. Are we now doing everything electronically vs living in the “real” world? I know that there have been many occasions where Will and I will communicate via text while in the house together. It just seems easier than getting up and going into the other room. Sad, I know. I also as a rule prefer text or email over most verbal communication. Part of that is my introvert talking. Part of it is pragmatic; if it’s important, I like to have a written record, particularly in my sleep-deprived state right now.
Will has a different sort of problem, although I don’t think he’s aware of it. And as a firm note here: I’m not Will-bashing. I’m merely being honest about one of his traits. He’s ADHD and either as a result of or in addition to it has ZERO concept of time or time management. He can get sucked into the iPhone for 20 minutes and literally only think a couple of moments have passed. It’s like a time machine for him. It irritates me to no end if I’m trying to get us out of the house for something or I’m waiting on him to “look at one thing” or “Google this one product” so that he can take the kids and I can do something.
Anyway, as I tried to have a conversation with Will over waffles the other morning and was being ignored due to the sinkhole that the iPhone is, I had to wonder something: were we constantly so glued to these devices when Stella was a baby that it impacted her? For instance, for the longest time, she made great eye contact and smiled constantly. Then she abruptly stopped. I seriously think that perhaps this was somewhat due to the fact that we rarely looked directly “at” her. We were either watching her peripherally or trying to photograph her through the phone. When I think back, it was a rather dramatic change in behavior for her. I will definitely watch this with Felix. Or maybe I’m just being crazy and paranoid.
All that being said, I think these i-devices have done amazing things for my kid. She has learned so much on these apps that my mind is totally blown. She’s going into preschool knowing her letters (upper and lower case), how to count to 30+, a catalog of shapes (including trapezoid, hexagon, octagon… shit that trips up adults in many cases), colors, and is now largely familiar with the planets in the solar system. She’s not yet three. I read somewhere recently (and forgive my ambiguity with the source) that this current batch of toddlers knows more than any group of toddlers ever thus far. I believe it. It’s also scary. I can see her making fun of her mother in the next 5-10 years for being square and not knowing how to work whatever fancy gizmo is running the world at that moment in time. iPhones will be the next phone booths or Sony Walkman.