Sometimes I take pictures of intimate moments and if the picture is good, I’ll approach the subjects and show them. Once the violation is absorbed they might ask for a copy.
These two were having such a moment but my shot quality was poor. I kept watching and snapping from a distance and the shots improved but I couldn’t capture another moment that didn’t involve a third party, the father’s iphone.
There was no one else at their table so this tiny child had only this man – presumably his father – to be present. The only times I witnessed them interact was when the child dropped something, spilled something or stood on his chair. Those actions provoked tender and affectionate reprimands but still I wondered what was happening on that phone. It made me think about my own time with my handhelds.
My friend Laura and I were talking about iphones and parenting and I told her I’ve made peace with that partnership. I think I’ve struck a balance. You’ll never find me on a self-imposed technology hiatus – god no – that would be impossible especially as someone who keeps moving away from all her friends – but I don’t hide or hoard my phone when I’m with my kids. I show my phone as a tool, not a grown-ups-only Pandora’s Box and I let Arlo use it as much as possible:
Arlo checks the weather.
Arlo follows the blue dot on the map.
Arlo asks to record thank-you videos when he receives a gift.
Arlo understands I use the phone to set up playdates, send a note to Daddy, take a picture of him at the top of the slide, find a cafe with toys and to buy a Halloween costume on Amazon. Arlo also understands that sometimes I use my phone for my own reasons and when I’m done using the iphone, it goes back in my pocket.
I think my relationship with technology is fine but witnessing that morning’s exchange was a good opportunity to check myself. Rare is Arlo’s clamoring or whining so I think I’m modeling responsible behavior. I have peace in my pocket but that’s not to say I don’t come across a deleted app or surprise selfie every once in a while, but I’m okay with that.
How do you manage this delicate relationship? How do you make your iphone less enticing while still using it as much as you do?