It never ceased to amaze me, how my tiny baby practically came out of the womb fascinated by screens and technology. She has always been intrigued by the TV, trying desperately to see around whatever obstacle is in her way. And she constantly reached for any cell phone within her grasp, despite the fact that she’d never seen what they can actually do.
My husband and I are not the type of parents who use screen time as a babysitter. Our daughter has only seen our phones brought to life a handful of times in her ten months. Only sharing a YouTube video of Baby Shark with her, or teaching her how to play a short game of balloon popping from a Baby app when we were desperate to soothe her inconsolable cries.
So why has she always been fascinated by technology she’s never been allowed to use? How can someone as young as she know that these contraptions are so important?
I used to think maybe it was the colors, lights, or sounds that sparked her interest. But then a few days ago, I stumbled upon an article that filled me with sadness.
The author spoke about a study with cell phones, babies, and mothers. It was discussed how little ones were observed in public, smiling or making faces at their mothers. And each of those mothers remained distracted with their phones.
After a few minutes of trying to capture their uninterested mothers’ attention, the small children appeared visibly distressed. In some cases they even acted out after being ignored, as that seemed to be their only chance at receiving attention…
Reading that broke my heart. And I realized how many times I’d actually witnessed scenarios exactly like the one described in a restaurant or a grocery store. Perhaps even been one of those mothers a time or two without even realizing it…
I suppose we have to face the reality that our children are growing up in a digital world. I totally understand the addiction to today’s technology. And I am one hundred percent guilty of having a cell phone in my hands way more frequently than I should.
It’s hard not to with all of the benefits cell phones bring. Communication is so easy. I constantly snap photos on my phone of every moment with my beautiful little girl. Then I find myself sharing all the baby spam in texts, on Facebook, Instagram, my mom blog, etc…
I realized after reading that study about cell phones, it’s probably not just the lights, colors, and movements that intrigue my daughter. It’s also a reflection of how much she sees her mother, or anyone else in her life, obsessing over these tiny devices. If it’s so important to us, maybe she should be obsessed with it too.
It’s rather sad she learned this so quickly in the short time she’s been earth side…
If I could redo anything about these last ten months, it would only be to put my phone away more.
How many precious little moments did I miss with my daughter because of a screen in front of my eyes? How many times has she felt ignored by her mother, but couldn’t voice her concern to me?
What would be the harm in saving phone usage for nap times? It would allow me to give my growing baby a real human connection.
Why not put the phone away until lunch breaks at work, or until after my daughter has fallen asleep for the night? Then I can give her the motherly love and attention she deserves while she’s awake and in my company.
I wonder if these questions should have ever been something to cross my mind as a mother… These are options I should have been using all along for the sake of my child.
These last ten months have flown by in the blink of an eye for me. The baby stage and childhood only happen once.
Personally, I know I don’t want to miss another minute…
And so my beautiful baby girl, here is my new promise going forward:
I will put the phone away.
And I will be more present for you in this crazy, digital world.