We are overwhelmed by how many families are using the cell phone as entertainment for the kids. During beach time. During meal time. To avoid conversations at meal time. To appease a squawking child. It’s quite unsettling.
Breakfast Lunch and Dinner. Cocktail hour. Phones are out and plentiful. There are several large families vacationing here now, every last one using cell phones at mealtime. Last night for dinner we took a shuttle van over to The Sugar Mill Restaurant and one family on board with us had two small kids (ages 4 and 2’ish). The second we got on the bus the older one hollered Mom, hand me your phone. Mom did and for the six minute bus ride the child played some game on the phone, not once engaged by a parent. No one said no. No one said Look out the window and see the palm trees.
Another family at the restaurant with three kids (looked like ages 11,10, 8) were sequestered at the far end of the table from the six adults. At no time did one adult engage the kids in conversation so the kids found ways to amuse themselves. Using the phone flashlight to climb stone steps in and around the restaurant, not staying at the table. The adults didn’t care one hoot. It was so sad.
Not to brag, but my kids are amazing conversationalists. They know how to engage. They can sit with anyone at any time. Do you know why they are so great?
Because I raised them to participate. They sat in the middle of family gatherings. They were not given any opportunity to leave the table or sit together and only talk amongst themselves. And this was from early on. They were asked questions. They were engaged and learned to listen and ask questions. Funny how that works, when parents spend time talking to children.
We are so disheartened to watch the cell phone as babysitter scenario play out over and over here. But the parents are as guilty, if not more, by bringing several phones to the meal in the first place. This is vacation. Leave the damn phones in the room. Look at the water. Pick up shells. Learn about the fish. Learn about the palm trees. Do something, ANYTHING, but put down the phone.
End of rant. It’s a gorgeous morning. I was up early and watched the sun rise and the birds swooping down into the water for their breakfast.