In her world, my phone was a part of me in much the same way as my shoes or clothes were, because it was almost always by my side, and she was clearly doggedly protective of my possession.
Realizing this was a sobering moment, but it reflects the reality that screens are part of our everyday lives like never before. While I try my best to minimize how much I use my phone, it’s still incomparably helpful for directions, checking social media, doing the online food shop, listening to audio books and so on. As none of my daughter’s grandparents live nearby, it’s also a crucial way for us to stay in touch, especially given that I haven’t seen my mother since 2019 due to lockdown and travel restrictions.
Our screens are pervasive, so it’s inevitable that our children pick up on this quickly, easily and intuitively. My baby even knew – almost as if by instinct – that by swiping my phone, something would light up. Before he even turned one, he seemed to have picked up on this.
We know screens are extremely addictive too, they shape our children’s minds in ways we are now slowly starting to understand. It’s not all bad, but it’s far from good either, and learning how to use screens better, or knowing when to stop, will have lasting positive consequences.