I didn’t own a cell phone until I was 18 and even then, the one I owned was pretty crappy. It definitely did not have any applications or challenging games – it didn’t have internet – Period. The most it did was take photos and it I think it had flash. I’m sure there were already better cell phones out there, but mine wasn’t one of those. The point is, when I was younger and we sat at the dinner table, my parents did not have to worry about us texting our bff’s, browsing the internet, or checking our friend’s lives via Facebook, etc. Nowadays, that seems to be the norm, but I didn’t think I would have to address it with my daughter until she was at least 14 years old…
My husband recently gave Emma an old cell phone. It is virtually useless but Emma likes to pretend it works and in her mind she is always calling people, speaking to them and I don’t know what else she thinks she is doing when pressing all the buttons. I know she sees my husband and I with our phones and knows that we can not only speak to people on the phone but also look at pictures, shop and read on it, so she is obviously imitating. I always try to leave my phone on my bed when I get home and while I am with Emma, to avoid looking at it since it has become a reflex – it is addicting – and actually spend quality time with my daughter.
On Sunday, Emma and I sat at the table to eat lunch, she took her phone with her and I didn’t think anything of it. We were eating and conversing and in the middle of lunch she picked up her phone and started to “use” it. I almost laughed but held it back because I know that this is not something I want her to do on a daily basis (See the pic. FYI – if not obvious enough, she drew all over the place mat). I never thought I would have to tell my 2-year-old to put her phone away, but I did, and I had to make every effort to keep a straight face. I also had to be persistent because she wasn’t going to give up easily – she finally let it go when I told her “Put your cell phone down or I will take it away from you.” I guess she really values her cell phone…. Hmm….
I am glad this didn’t turn into a tantrum – disaster averted! Because anyone who has children knows that toddlers can be extremely stubborn and as parents we have to carefully pick and choose our battles.