My daughter Molly and I were wandering around The Lanes in Brighton and decided to pop in for a bowl of spaghetti in an Italian Restaurant.
A family of 4 sat down opposite and immediately the mum got out her iPhone and gave it to her 2 year old to play with and the dad got out his iPad and gave it to their 4 year old.
No one chatted, no one interacted, no one laughed or connected to each other in real life.
I was stunned, my daughter looked horrified and I felt sad.
I was also on holiday in Malta with a friend last year and we went into a pub to have a chat. After about an hour she said,’Have you noticed those 6 teenagers in the corner over there on their phones the whole time – they even seem to be sharing jokes as they all laugh at the same time on their screens?’
I call this generation ‘Screenagers’ and whilst I love technology and embrace Twitter with enthusiasm – I know when to turn it off, put it away and look my family and friends in the eye.
Kate Winslet was in the news this week banning her kids from technology. I’m not a fan of absolutes and prefer balance and boundaries BUT Winslet is absolutely right when she says that parents are losing control of their young.
Winslet says trenchantly: “Take the device out of their hand. Don’t let them sleep with it. Play Monopoly. These things are not rocket science. Do drawing games.’
I also agree with Vanessa Feltz when she writes in The Daily Express that parents are ‘taking the easy, peaceful, lazy way out of the responsibilities of parenting, ignoring their children’s lack of social skills’
This weekend just take a moment to ponder the use of your kids screens and while you’re at it ….. ponder your own !
It’s time to pull the plug on iPad parenting.