Our children will always know whether they have our full attention. It's time
for parents to break the phone habit before it's too late.
There was something to be said for the old-fashioned landline, with a
handsetso bulky, you had to tuckit between your neck and shoulder to get your
hands free. They didn’t —couldn’t —go everywhere with us. Now we’re tetheredto
our mobiles —addicted, even. They’ve become handy tools for avoidance, and it’s
our children who are getting the bad end of the deal.
All around me, I see parents with their babies and toddlersand young kids
—but not with them. The grownups are on the phone. The dad pushing his son on
the swing set while hands-free on his mobile isn’t really with his child. The
mom pushing her baby in a pramwhile she’s yakking on the phone isn’t really with
The kids aren’t too happy about it. They’re pulling on their parents’
clothes. They’re yankingon their arms. They’re acting out to get attention. I’ve
heard them begging their parents to stop, disconnect. I’ve watched children
start to whimperthe minute the mobile is picked up —off the dinner table. During
dinner. The son of a friend of mine recently announced, at age 10, that he hates
cell phones. Actually, he will tell you he hates technology. IPads don’t fool
him. Neither does texting. He understands that his father can never get away
from his work —and the office won’t get away from his father. He sees the phone,
and he thinks, I’ve lost my dad’s attention. And that’s what children crave:
attention. We all do.
Parents have to break the phone habit before it is too late. I’m not
talking about getting extreme here —no phone calls around a child, ever. But I
am talking about giving more thought to all the missed opportunities for
communicating with a child. For simply being with her. Quietly. I was pleased to
find the blog of a young mother from Alabama, Rachel Stafford, who has started
an aptlytitled campaign called Hands Free Mama, encouraging parents to put away
the tech toys and be present with their children.
Is being a parent boring? Sometimes. Lots of times. And guess what. Those
boring moments are what you will miss the most once your children are grown.
Carpool is when you should be hanging on every word. Walks are when the world
unfolds at a child’s feet, in the safety of your company. The parent is the
genius who gives names to things and encourages a child’s attention to detail on
the path. The tiny accretionof daily routines is dull and divine. Of course
there’s always plenty of time for a phone call, or 10 of them. Children are
always slowly walking, slowly eating, slowly looking, slowly reading, slowly
going nowhere, until suddenly they’re gone.
And giving the kids their own phones in the name of fair play doesn’t cut
it. That’s happening all too often; families are together, but each person is in
her own bubbleof technology. Some of us worry about radiationand the developing
brain. But we should be worried about disconnectedness and the developing
One day, sooner than you realize, you will be with your child, wanting to
talk. But she’ll be too busy. Talking to someone who isn’t there. And why not?
You weren’t there when she was.
swing set （组合）秋千
pull on 拉；穿；戴
act out 把…表演出来；把…付诸行动
divine adj. 神圣的；非凡的；天赐的；极好的
1. Does the author urge parents to get rid of cell phones completely?
2. Can you summarize the damages of parents' using of cell phones according
to the passage?