It was watching a Dad, with two under 7s and dog, cross a road glued to his phone that did it for me, but it could have been any number of other instances. I have been simmering ready to boil for some time over the current Invasion of the Phone crisis. Smart phones are enslaving us; we are under their spell and our obsessive compulsion to respond to them has led to, we the grown ups, not teens, allowing them to rule every aspect of our lives anywhere, any time, any place! On this particular occasion, I am driving. I see Dad begin to cross the road, head down, children laughing and depending on Dad to guide them – he is not there, buried instead in his email, or Instagram or whatever. I slow to a stop, Dad lifts his gaze for a millisecond, acknowledges me in a kind of vacant glazed way, and head goes down again. Kids cross the road, oblivious. My 12 year old, says witheringly, ‘And adults complain about our screen time!’
And she’s right! While this example may be an extreme, there do not seem to be any times, places or moments that are off limits. There are no agreed rules, no codes of etiquette, no accepted boundaries – it seems to me that it is pretty much open slather.
Is there anywhere we wouldn’t take out that phone!?
What about in a job interview, riding a bike, in church, at a funeral, on your honeymoon, at the theatre, in a meeting, at a dinner party, while someone is talking to you, in hospital, at a parent-teacher meeting, your child’s ballet concert, at breakfast with friends, watching your son play football, driving, in a lecture, in court, having a massage, at the movies, reading bedtime stories, on a run, hang gliding, skiing, giving birth? I could go on…..
Should we let this continue and possibly get worse? We complain about our teens’ screen obsession and yet we role model this very obsession. Can we stop it before it is too late?
I beg you to commit to make changes, – some I admit are radical – come band together, print these and stick them over the water cooler, the coffee machine, the staff room, on the fridge, in the boardroom and the bedroom……
The Ten Commandments for Good Mobile Phone Use
1. Thou shalt neither use a phone in the car, never, ever! Nor trick yourself into believing that it’s okay if it is hands free!
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee calls or take unto thee calls that interrupt a conversation
3. Thou shalt not take out your phone when you are eating or meeting with people
4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it wholly phone free
5. Honor thy son and thy daughter by living in the moment with them
6. Thou shalt not kill real life experiences by posting them as status updates on Facebook
7. Thou shalt commit to admiring sunsets and not posting them on Instagram
8. Thou shalt not steal life’s precious moments by answering email at the same time
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness when caught doing any of the above (if thou is, seek forgiveness)
10. Thou shalt not covet the latest iphone release date
Deputy Head of Campus/Head of Secondary, Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty Campus
This blog is the School's way of helping our parents and teachers understand and experience the cyber world that their children live in. We post stories about the latest cyber safety issues, and the latest social mediums that their children and teens might be using. We believe that teaching children and teens to be good Digital Citizen from a young age will protect them and their reputations.
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