You will know exactly where I am going with this post lovely people.
I am assuming that my artwork is of sufficient standard as to give a little heads up as to what lies ahead.
There is therapy in art – right?
The phone is landing.
So here we all are and we thought the day would never arrive but it’s coming.
We are letting the devil through the door of the Not Just The 3 0f Us household.
I realise we are probably a little quaint and behind the curve here but I care not.
It also hasn’t escaped my attention that we are effectively adding a further element via a device that won’t be used – the phone. We already have an iPod and iPad. The only addition is the bit that enables you to speak. And isn’t this precisely the thing that teenagers seek to avoid. The reason for the invention of digital media. To negate the need for conversation?
There will be rules. You would expect nothing less from me.
There have been meetings. There have been negotiations. The rules will be carved in stone. They will hereinafter be known as The Mobile Phone Charter 2017.
You will see from the age of the chairs that the negotiations were long and extensive. There were breakdowns. Necessarily so.
So having been brought up in a ‘children should be seen but not heard’ generation alongside the growing trend towards freedom of speech, I find myself at a little bit of a crossroads. Up the (telephone) junction.
My concerns around this are twofold.
Social skills and safety. That is it.
We’ve done a pretty good job of keeping The Kid safe for nearly 11 years. That’s our job as parents.
We are also a very sociable family. We all love a gathering – big and small. We talk.
We also need telephones, digital media and technology. That is life these days. All good with that.
However, the two do not need to exist side by side. By this I mean social gatherings and phones.
Because rest assured, the phone will not be used to communicate (either with or without those in the room).
In fact it is the very essence of the communication that is at the heart of my thoughts here.
Phones at the table and in social situations. No, never! Absolutely not! Let’s talk. In the old days you wouldn’t turn up at someone’s house and read a book (especially not at the table) – people would say how rude it was. I see the addition of the phone being no different.
In Chez Victoriana if visitors arrived, the TV went off as soon as the knock game. I guess it’s a nod towards welcoming whoever stepped over the threshold.
There wasn’t a phone in the house until we were teens but in any event, no one would take themselves off to the hall for two hours to chat if visitors had called. Neither was there anyone to phone if we’d had mobiles. We relied on other peoples mums to keep us on the straight and narrow. Generally the same people that would catch you smoking. That was all duly reported back to base too!
It may sound as though I’m a little bitter here but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My work, after all, is that of a blogger. I am without doubt, the person who is online the most. The person in the house that will most often be seen attached to a device. Online is where my work takes place. In the digital world. This gives us a slightly unusual set of circumstances in that I will be online and on social media far more than the Kid could ever be. It’s part and parcel of my work and this has to explained. It will, of course, be used against me at every opportunity!!!!
However, I also cannot wait to switch off from it. It makes me feel dreadful if I spend too long in front of a screen. You will all know that awful fuzzy feeling where it feels like your head is going to explode and your eyes are glazing over.
The social part of the rules relates to everyone in the house. It’s not a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. And, equally we will all have plenty of opportunity to fill our boots with digital media. Devices are as big a part of our lives as they are every other family. It’s not like it’s a total ban. Just at social times.
We have three main rules :
- No phones/gadgets in social situations (indoors or out)
- No chat groups to be joined initially. You are 10!!!
- No walking along with your face in the phone (yours or anyone else’s)
No 1 relates to my views around staying social. No. 2 to online safety. No 3 to safety in general. The amount of school children I see walking along with their face in their phones and straight in to the road is scary. The amount of groups of school children walking along with their faces in one phone and straight into the road is also very scary.
It will only ever be the drivers fault. Is that fair?
The addition of the phone is meant to keep you safe. To enable you to contact us when you need to.
I am also pretty astute in realising that these are the areas of main contention. Does this make me wrong? Does the fact that everyone else is doing it mean we have no choice? Does the fact that everyone else is allowed mean I’m the one in the wrong?
Is allowing hours at a time on a gadget not enough?
Do we have to chuck a device at it for the sake of what everyone else is doing? That’s just storing up trouble in my view. These kids aren’t teenagers yet.
I know there are pros and cons to the whole phone and use of social media. I have heard some wonderfully positive stories about how it has really helped people. I personally am a big fan. I see the benefits. It is not all doom and gloom.
I have two concerns and three rules. They relate to my daughters safety and future welfare. I don’t think it’s a big ask.
If we were to give the little statues below a mobile phone or a tablet, we have a scenario that is very commonly seen in homes around the world. The only differences being that they are children sat on a sofa.
And children are walking into social situations like this all of the time. Situations that they cannot be part of. They walk in ready to see people and are confronted by all the other children head down in their devices.
That is a harder group for a stranger to break into than a group of people talking. Think about it. That is really difficult for an adult walking into a roomful of strangers, let alone a child.
This is what I do not want for us. This is what I do not want for others walking into our home.
What do you prefer – a warm welcome or a cold shoulder?