Rediscovered Families

For the Children’s Sake Put Down That Device

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I was pottering around the Internet reading blog posts. One link led to another and quite by chance I discovered a post that stopped me in my tracks. A Letter to my sons (the real reason I say no to electronics) by Renee Robinson.

You know when you find a piece of writing that connects directly with your heart? Well this was one of those times. This mom has put into words so much of what I feel about technology and family relationships.

What it looks like when parents are distracted by their phones

I work in a public library and I see a lot of families come through our doors. It is my joy to see parents and children interacting over our books and toys. I have also seen the way in which electronic devices can get in the way of those precious moments.

  • I have seen the crestfallen faces of the children as they desperately try to get the attention of a parent engrossed with their device.
  • I have seen a little girl fighting back tears, because she simply couldn’t get her dad’s attention.

And it saddened my heart. I was sad for the lost opportunities. For the sadness of a little girl who just wanted to engage with her daddy.

There is no judgment here. I do not know what was going on in this family’s life. Maybe there was a family emergency. Maybe it had just been one of those really difficult parenting days and dad desperately needed a break. Maybe there was something going on at work that simply couldn’t be ignored. I get that. But I was still saddened by the lost opportunity for a wonderful connection between a little girl and her dad.

The subtle messages we send

The trouble is when we choose our phone over our loved ones we are sending a message.

  • You are not as important as my electronic device
  • I am not interested in what you have to say
  • My relationship with you is not my top priority

I know that this could not be further from the truth. But think of it from your child’s perspective. They don’t understand what might be going on in your life. All they see is that the device wins.

Some powerful words

I’m going to quote some more excerpts from Renee Robinson. Before you read this picture your child in your mind. Imagine for a moment that they are speaking these words. Forget the adult language for a moment. Do you hear their voice in your head? Listen to these words

“You see I can’t bear to miss a moment with you…. I want to talk to you when we are out …   I want to allow space for conversation that can take us deeper.  And if you are always distracted with electronics, well… I might miss those moments.

When we are together, I want all of you.  The fullness of you.  I want to experience you. Truly experience you.  And I can’t do that with you when there is an electronic device between us. You see it acts as a barrier.” And when you hide behind a screen, I miss out on all of that.

And my time with you…. well it will be over in the blink of an eye.”

See what I mean?

For the children’s sake turn off your devices (at least for a little while)

Maybe it’s time to turn off that electronic device? At least when we are with the people that matter to us.

Now it is your turn

Please join the conversation. When have you found that electronic devices get in the way of relationships? What limits do you put on the use of your electronics? Do you have digital free zones (or times) in your house?

I am grateful to Renee Robinson who graciously gave permission to me to quote extensively from her post and use it in this way. Why not pop over to her blog and say hello?

Photo Credit: Peter Werkman

21 thoughts on “For the Children’s Sake Put Down That Device”

  1. I totally agree with what you’ve said here about it being important not to get too sucked by electronic devices at the expense of devoting attention to kids. It is easy to let it happen but, like you say, a bit of a shame when it does.

    1. I good to hear from you Jonathan … I agree it’s easy to get distracted by those devices. They are so handy and yet such a hindrance at times.thanks for stopping by 🙂

    1. It’s so hard to stay focused when there are other important things going on. I am still in the process of learning how to build healthy boundaries around my business, so it doesn’t take over my life. It’s definitely worth working on 🙂

  2. Love your thoughts and I totally agree. I have made the decision to not have data on my smart phone. I spend enough time on the internet at home, I don’t need the distraction. Especially when I am with my kids.

    1. I made the same decision Mae. I know it would be really hard not to be constantly distracted.

  3. I fight this battle everyday. When going to the park with the children the cell phone stay home. Also no electronics during dinner or bedtime. There is still more I can do. Thanks for the reminder Sharon. Great post!

    1. Those are great tips Kelvin. I know your relationships with your children will become stronger as a result. Thanks for visiting.

  4. Toby @ One Six Zeros

    yeah! turn off the electronics. I remember looking out the window when I used to catch a long bus ride home, imagining things and thinking up stories. These days, you pass time on your phone rather than looking up. I think we are getting better though, but only slowly.

    1. I think people are slowly waking up to the fact that being constantly distracted can cause you to become disconnected from the people that are important. My middle son talks about the way some restaurants are encouraging their patrons to turn off the phone and engage with friends in real life. I find that encouraging.

  5. So many of us are guilty of this aren’t we. I read the other day about people being on their phones over dinner – now that did shock me.

  6. Yes, YES and YES!! I so agree with this, and its is what I have been aiming to do over the summer, making sure I am “there” for my kids! Thanks for joining in with the Parenting Pin it Party this week. xx

  7. I always find it interesting that no one picks up on the name…”device”. Why would a phone be called a device? Didn’t the devil have his own “devices”??? These are one of them. Check out the book called “Virtual Child”; Cris Rowan’s website has lots of great info on this phenomenon. It is truly sickening to watch this happening. I see it alllllllllll the time. Put the damn thing down!

  8. I am so guilty of connecting with my electronics more than I do with my boys at times. And that’s a tough one to swallow. What a wonderful reminder to look at ourselves from our kids’ eyes. They should always know they are more important than a silly electronic! Thank you for sharing on Makeovers & Motherhood’s Welcome Party Wednesday Link-Up! Featuring you this week!

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