When I first started typing this article, my true intentions were to write about how over-usage of technology among children and teenagers nowadays negatively affects their lives. But that changed the minute my almost 3 year old daughter came out of her room, and called my name about 30 times before I answered. I was too busy checking my Facebook. I stared at the screen for almost 40 minutes before I started typing a list of things that technology has deprived me – a mother of 2 – from. The list is quite long, but narrowing it all down, I realized that I forgot to be a true mother of 2.
Yes, technology has gotten us all closer. I now know what my friends across the world are doing, where they have been, and what they are feeling like. It did, however, set us far away from people a few meters away from us. I will, sadly, admit that a text buzz, or a Facebook notification ring grabs my attention much faster than my daughter’s calling. “What could she possibly want?” I would ask myself, “It can for sure wait”. It cannot. And it should not. You do not want to miss out on congratulating your friend for having a new baby, or a new car, or a new boyfriend, or even a new bag. However, you are ok with putting your child on hold, and virtual mute, at least until you are done. I figured I do not know how to read a book to my child any more. For one thing, they won’t sit to listen, but I have also lost the talent of reading out loud. We smile at our screens, silently. We comment to our screens, silently. And we frown at our screens, silently. Because you know, sharing is a violation of privacy.
For 24 hours, I have decided to put that not-so-smart phone down, and spend time with my children; quality time. I turned my phone off (to avoid temptation), turned the TV off (no more cartoon to distract them), brought a nice strong cup of coffee and headed to my children’s zoo, excuse me, room. And my God what a wild experience that was! Did you know that my son can put together a puzzle in 2 minutes? A puzzle that took me about 5 minutes to figure out! Did you know that my daughter has about 20 teddy bears, but only calls one “my friend”? Did you know that I am not as smart as I may seem? I have been missing out on my children the whole time. I went into that room expecting an evening of boredom. And I came out of it knowing that I have the best, most talkative, highly imaginative, creative children on earth. At least in my eyes they are. I also now know that teddy bear tea parties are cool, and my daughter has more gossip than the ladies in The View!
So before you stand up against technology, and claim that it is the reason why your children are becoming lazy, dull and less imaginative and creative, think to yourself. Maybe you are setting the wrong example staring at your screens all day long. Turn off that phone and dive into your children’s rooms. Take a dip into their world of toys, puzzles, stuffed animals and cars and enjoy their childhood. Bless it and praise it. Stop telling them you love them in a nicely written tweet or Facebook status, and start saying it to their faces and watch their eyes light up. Take a day off from school, trainings, work, cooking, cleaning, internet surfing, and nonsense chats and spend it with your babies. Because before you know it, they will be on their way staring at their own screens. And you will regret every second you shushed them to silently laugh at yours.
Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run