To take the phone or to not take the phone, that is the question.
As I write that sentence, I think that this question is not a question at all to many. It is a clear “of course!” or “of course not!”
I took my phone for an “in case of emergency” situation. But then I got a call from a friend who was having boyfriend problems and then my sister needed to discuss an issue of her own. I’m quite sure they both would have survived if I didn’t answer for a few hours. But, I willingly answered and took myself out of the relaxing world of peace and quiet that I was very much needing at the time. I’m not saying that I won’t take the phone to the beach again but I will turn off the ringer and only use “in case of emergency.”
Ok, I may check every so often in case there is a text.
Still, the real issue of using the phone in these situations (and others) is ‘what are we missing’? For the short time that I was on the phone chatting away, I wasn’t getting the benefit of allowing my thoughts to wonder. I wasn’t getting the full textual benefits of the beach: smells, sounds, touch and sometimes taste.
We can’t multitask as well as we think we can! When we talk on the phone our attention is taken away from other things. When we are with children, they don’t get our attention and they don’t get to practice their verbal and conversational skills with us. I found this article that speaks to this issue:
We all have to stay connected and that won’t change but let’s take some time out for a no cell phone time or no cell phone zone. I saw a news segment about parenting and cell phone usage. The most memorable and startling suggestion they gave was to avoid texting while reading to your children. Let me repeat; while reading to your children! I couldn’t believe that people had to be instructed to give their child full attention for 15-20mins while they read to their children. I guess we can get so caught up in thinking that everything is urgent that we forget to just savor those moments (often too short and too few) we have to relax or to spend time with those we love.
My challenge to all of you (including myself) is to create no-cell phone zones and/or times. Perhaps during dinner (I remember when it wasn’t even a consideration to pick up the phone during dinner –back in the day when all we had was a land-line), personal relaxation time, at the playground, at the store check out, while spending quality time with those you care about etc…
Let’s stay connected in person, with the people right in front of us, and not just through technology!