I heard something on the radio that surprised me – the first iPhone was introduced in June 2007. Doesn’t it seem that iPhones have been part of our world for longer than ten years? I was very late to the game – I got my first iPhone in 2011. I remember bringing it home, gently taking it out the box, and having my then first grade daughters grab it and show me how to use it. Really. They knew all about iPhones because all their babysitters had them.
Last night I went to a presentation at my girls’ school. The guidance counselors discussed social issues facing middle schoolers today and talked about the importance of being present when we are with our children and reclaiming family time. They talked about how we are all constantly connected on our phones, refreshing our email and our social media lest we miss something new. I felt a little guilty when one counselor suggested that parents set the example of disconnecting. It made me realize how often I look at my phone and how much time I spend on line. She suggested turning off the WiFi one night a week. That made me a little uncomfortable because I know that would be just as hard for my husband and me as it would be for our girls.
My phone is both a convenience and an inconvenience. It allows me to reach my husband and my daughters anytime. I can drive anywhere by typing a location into Google Maps. I even discreetly ordered a pizza during the school presentation last night and picked it up on my way home. I have an app that lets me see when my girls get off the school bus in the afternoon. I order on Amazon Prime while I wait in line at the grocery. I am a multitasker with extraordinary skills.
And yet, my phone is also an anchor. Work calls, emails, and texts reach me day and night. Instant responses are often expected. Almost every morning I wake up to several work emails received after I went to bed the night before.
Are you like me, reading the news by scrolling through short snippets on a newsfeed? I’ve recently been struggling with one of my daughters who dreads reading books for school. I keep wishing that she’ll find the right book or series of books that will captivate her. She recently told me that she loves to read – but just not books, because they are too long. She loves reading short factual stories on line. Her attention span is short. We are turning into a society with no patience and no sense of delayed gratification. Everything is instant.