Our regular dad John Adams asks this month whether we should leave the wireless devices at home when we take the kids to play? What’s your take?
There’s a spot near our home that’s popular with parents who want to let their kids off the leash so they can charge off on bikes, skateboards and anything else with wheels. The horrendous British weather held it together yesterday just long enough for me to pay this spot a visit with our eldest daughter as she wanted to ride her bike.
When we arrived there were four other sets of parents. My daughter shot off on her bike while I retreated to a bench and put on my rollerblades (yes, I am a rollerblading dad).
It was at this point I noticed something that made me feel quite sad. Of all the parents looking after their kids, only two of us weren’t mucking about with our mobile phones. This went on for quite some time, one little boy in particular being left entirely to his own devices while his mum had her face buried in her handset, occasionally lifting her head to shout out words of encouragement as he did circuits on his bike.
I’m not throwing stones here. I’m sure at times we’ve all been distracted by our mobiles, tablets, laptops or maybe even some old fashioned piece of technology like the TV. I was just struck at how many of the parents were clearly lost in their own little ‘wireless world’ when they could have been paying attention to their children.
A while ago I recall reading a magazine article about how wireless technology and how it had supposedly allowed men to leave the office and spend more time with their kids. The writer concluded this wasn’t really the case. They said the reality was it had released men from the office, so they could visit the play park with their kids and make a bad job of watching over them while continuing to work on their Blackberry.
Where am I going with this? I’m going to make a concerted effort not to go near my phone or the iPad when looking after the children. I think it’s quite healthy to stay off the wireless devices for a few hours each day.
I’d be interested to hear what you think though. Is this a problem in your household? Are mums or dads worse at being distracted? If it was a problem for you, what did you do about it?