When I'm at the park, my thumb poking at my smartphone as my three-year-old plays, I'm often talking to my husband, a friend or someone in my family via text message or chat. Sometimes I'm grocery shopping or reading an article on parenting or checking work-related emails. At least once a day I'm taking photos or video of something my kids are doing that I want to share with their grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. I'm not sure why using my phone to do these things is bad.
What I am sure of, is that I would not be bonding with my children if I had to drag the both of them to the grocery store instead. Letting my kid play in the playground & his sister nap in her stroller while I shop, right there on the park bench seems like a much better alternative.
Since we are not independently wealthy millionaires, we can't afford childcare, so I squeeze in some blogging & writing work here & there while I can. Which means me being on my phone (or tablet, or netbook) while my kid plays or while breastfeeding.
My mom, sisters, cousins, aunts & uncles are on Facebook &/or Instagram. We get to see each other's children & hear about what's going on in each other's lives way more since we've started using social media regularly. I think me being connected with my family is good for my children.
Sometimes I'm just surfing Facebook while my son plays, it's true. But I feel that even that is a valid thing because it's what enables me to connect with other adults, but maybe more importantly, give & get support from other parents I know about this incredibly difficult role we're all playing. Dishing or commiserating with other moms in person is always awesome, but not often possible with everyone's different preschool, nap time, work & other schedules factored in.
Another response I have to the criticism of moms being on smartphones is to ask how is this different from things that existed for our parents & previous generations. For example, how is it different if I'm reading a novel on my phone--because I do use it as an eReader--rather than holding a real, paper book in my hands? How is chatting with my mom via Facebook different to talking to her on a landline? I'm sure that if I was having a conversation with another mom at the park, nobody would look askance, so why is it different if that other mom is chatting virtually, perhaps from another park in another city?
Obviously having a phone between a parent & her child literally ALL THE TIME would be bad & impede attachment, but who does that? All the moms you see with their smart phone in hand aren't using it 24/7. They're just trying to get one more thing done.
What's your take on this? Do you use your smartphone when you're with your kids? Do you ever get any flak for it?
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