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Yellow Farmhouse; White Rocking Chair

By Kayleigh Rahn
You’re missing it.

Yes, you. You’re missing it all.

The blue sky, the red birds, the strangers passing by.

The dinner conversation, the road trip scenery, the quirks of your significant other.

You’re missing it in exchange for the glow of your phone screen.

A quick Google search informed me there are about 327.6 million mobile devices in use in the United States. With a population of 323.1 million, that’s quite a few devices in our country and a sign of the times if I ever saw one.

At 6 months old my daughter managed to get her hands on my iPhone, knew how to hold it, and seemingly innately knew how the screen worked.

Here was my wake up call!

I was flabbergasted–and somewhat appalled–that my child with nearly 180 days of experience on this planet knew that the cellphone has a touch screen she could control with her thumbs.

It was time to put the phone to the side; however, we found this to be more difficult than expected. Without thinking we were drawn to our phones. After dinner, during breakfast, commercial breaks during the news. The phone would appear in our hands before we realized what was happening during any lull and drop in stimuli.

What was going on?

According to Forbes, cell phone addiction is real. According to a December 2017 article, cell phone addiction and social media addiction are closely intertwined, which can both lead to mental health issues including depression.

Luckily, I don’t think we were experiencing any of the direct consequences of cellphone addition, but we were afraid what this meant for Nora because we were missing it. You know…it. Life with her. Watching her play. Being mentally in the room as her brain is teaching itself how to stack blocks and turn pages of a storybook. Of course we were in the room, keeping an eye on here. But we weren’t taking in the moment, because our phones were between our faces and her playtime.

What a depressing scene to consider.

So we’ve taken a step back and placed the phones in our pockets. The phones are no longer on the table at dinner–even when waiting on food at restaurants. We take photos, sure, but we trying to make an effort to be in the moment, too, And no more scanning social newsfeeds during playtime.

I read recently that a key component of child rearing in 2018 is teaching your child to be bored. With the world at their fingertips and a constant stream of stimuli coming from every angle, children have not been taught the art of coping with boredom. So, sorry for Nora, but we will not be streaming movies in the car, and some days we simply don’t turn on the TV at home. We don’t pass over our phones to her while we’re waiting on our food at a restaurant, and in church she’s in the pew with us. Wonderful ideas are born out of boredom, and I hope my kid is able to work with that. Look out the window; check out the stars; push around the sugar packets on the table. You won’t see sympathy from us on the topic of boring moments.

I’m happy to say we’ve made progress in kicking our mobile addiction, but we have work yet to do. Feel free to take the challenge with us before you miss it. It’s worth it, I promise.

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