I wake up every morning, turn the alarm off, the next thing in my hands is my phone: I do the same with the alarm, then check Messages(If any), then Twitter for news, then Whatsapp for messages from family and then Facebook for updates. After and when I am done with all this, then only I move. And I hate this!
Okay its alright to stay current and updated with the news, but what on earth am I supposed to do with what someone thousands of miles away from me is eating and feeling while eating. I mean first thing in the morning?
Past couple days, I’d been down and anxious; so much going on and then one morning when I was reading some news on Twitter, number 3 woke up and saw me busy on my iPhone and came close, and held my face and turned it towards him and said ‘ Band Mamma’ (Turn it off Mamma) It happened two consecutive mornings and what did I do? I signed out of all the social media apps on my phone.
There are people in my life, for who Facebook and Whatsapp comes first in their priority list, even before myself. But then I am me!
I have friends and families who have got separate tablets and iPads for their kids, as young as 2. I go for grocery and I see every passing stroller with a kid busy swiping the screen of their smart device. At traffic lights, I see cars and vans, with Dora or Caillou playing on the little television screens. Hospitals, doctor’s offices, shopping malls-9 out of 10 kids I see have some sort of device in their hands, regardless of their age. I mean what is wrong with us?
I remember growing up with only a 5 minute cartoon slot on the national television which was the only screen entertainment for us, that too in a hallway, that was always flooded with Dadi, phuphoos and cousins.
Then things progressed and we started having a 25 minute cartoon, evening 7pm. And that was it. And I am not talking about centuries ago.
Ammi used to pull keep knocking our bedroom doors, if any of us would lock it. We used to have dinner together. We used to talk. We had books to read, newspapers, magazines, puzzles.
And now I get guests, the young guns, that prefer to pull their hoodies on and sit in a corner playing, reading, listening, simply doing something with their smart device, and not socializing with the not-so-smart people in the room.
Personally I feel it is more the parent’s own short comings then anything else. I am not being judgemental; I am just saying what I observe.
Mothers are too busy so it really sounds like a good idea to have a silent baby-sitter with colours and music and pictures playing and keeping the kids entertained. Plus there is a lot of peer pressure. ‘That cousin” have it so I should also have it usually works wonders.
It some how addresses our own underlying, deep rooted complexes as a child-We try to give our children all that we could not get as a kid, without understanding that there was a reason we did not get something, and it was not money (only).
I have a household of three screaming, excited, ultra active human beings. I write and I sew and I bake and I craft and I watch news, dramas and movies; plus the every day household chores. I wash the same dish 15 times a day, because my baby likes to play with the freshly washed one, so I keep redound the same stuff over and over again. I have no help at all and yes I am bragging here. The only screen time my school going children get is 30 minutes, max 45. My baby is not a fan of screens at all. Yes there are times, when the screen time stretches beyond an hour, but that is rare, and extremely uncommon. They have no access to iPad unless they need to do some homework, which is timed and strict. They do not use any computers for any game, activity. I get them books, crosswords from the weekly flyers and newspapers. I asked for my family to send a Ludo so I can play with them.
And when they do nothing, they hover and make me want to run away.
Yes it drives me crazy and some times, it all just gets too much to handle. I am under slept, over tired, over stressed, but I am not ready to trade my children’s innocence for a 6 hour sleep. They eventually will be tech savvy and will have less time to communicate or interact with human beings in person. I just try to keep it this way, the natural way, for however long I can manage.
Number 1 was just promised by her father yesterday that if she finishes her Quran by a certain time she gets an iPad. And to my happiness, she responded “Remember no iPads” So I know children never develop complexes unless we try to shove it into them. Cell phones for now I have promised them when they’d be at least 16.
So my point: Please be sensible when deciding on handing over all this garbage aka technology, gift wrapped as tablets, pods and smart phones to these beautiful, super intelligent children when all they need is our attention and some encouragement. I argue and confront and fight about it with those I love. I know it is hard and I am not some kind of anti Illuminati or anti tech freak. I’m guilty of binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix when I am sad and I hog up on pop and sugar when I am depressed or I give up everything and not eat for days and survive on Chai as my to go med, friend, shoulder to cry-on. I just also admitted my horrible routine of social media when I just anxiously and insanely keep checking Facebook okay. I do. I am not a perfect mom, neither a perfect woman. I have my fair share of flaws. In fact I am more flawed than most. But this stuff is poison. It hurts those bright eyes, it damages those Einstein brains, it isolates those giggling personalities, it bars them friendly gestures and public etiquettes. It produces jay walkers who walk without the knowledge of their surroundings, engrossed in whatever device, and eventually usually get struck.
I wish I could’ve been born another time. Too old perhaps and hence nag!