Christian Living


Mommy and the Joyful Three 03/27/14

Is Social Media Robbing You of Family Time?

Do you ever feel like your mind is running faster than your life? An online article caught my eye recently about how children react to their parents being distracted by cell phones and other technological devices. It focused on the fact that children vie for their parents’ attention.


Picture this, 20 some-odd years ago, I was on the kitchen floor of our house, sitting by my mom’s legs as she sat in a brown chair at our kitchen talking on the phone. She would spin slightly in the wheeled chair as she sat close to the wall where the phone was connected, the cord stretching every time she reached for her coffee. I would tap my feet, or rudely beg for her to hang up.


I felt like she was not paying attention to me. She didn’t ever talk long; it was expensive to call long distance back then. Maybe once a week she would call her twin sister and take advantage of peak time minutes. Even so it felt like she wasted the whole day and I eagerly wanted her attention.


Now, Mom laughs at how distracted I can be with my own phone considering how much I complained about her tendency to do the same thing. I told her that life’s different now; and they sure are.


That sense of panic we get when our phones die when we are out or when we do not have enough bars can send us running for a cell tower and our phone charger. The playground looks like an Internet café these days. From the playground, you hear, “Look at me, Mommy!” You maybe glance up and nod absentmindedly, but then go back to scrolling your news feed or texting your friends.


We are too connected. I admit that I live halfway inside the little world of my phone like Alice putting one leg down the rabbit hole, falling into the trap of distraction.


My children are growing; that is no secret to the friends who see me post photos of them. They are getting wiser and noticing more. I am noticing less. I can be overheard telling my kids to smile for a photo I am just dying to show off more than you will hear me interacting with them in the way my mom would when I was small.


To make matters worse, my children are picking up my bad habits. More children these days see the screen of a phone or a tablet than they do the beautiful world God created. 


Communication is a gift, but it also can be the devil’s playground if we are not careful. Moderation is a beautiful but difficult thing in life when we have things at our fingertips. 


I am setting some new rules for myself. First, I am no longer using my phone during “peak” hours. My peak hours are the hours my children are with me. The price I will pay for not following this rule will be more costly than I probably can imagine.


Two, I am making my communication with God my top priority. From now on, I will scroll the Bible rather than my news feed. I will brag to God about the accomplishments He has helped me achieve instead of seeking ‘likes’ from online friends. He will become a more active part of my day, more so than people I knew in high school. 


It is time to take a step back and then to take a step forward into actively being a part of my own life. 


Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you overly concerned with technology and social media? What do you do to cut back?

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