Wednesday 12 April 2023

I'm glad I didn't have a smartphone as a teenager

As my children get older and become more and more attached to their phones it makes me so glad that I didn't have one when I was a teenager! I do talk to the children (a lot!) about sensible smartphone use, switching it off to concentrate on a longer task, no phones before bed and so on, and to be fair they are both very good about it. But it feels as though so much of their life is spent online these days, from homework to socialising to entertainment.

If I had owned a smartphone back then I would never have been able to sit down to my homework with a phone pinging away. Even if it was on silent or in the other room I would be thinking about it and worrying that I was missing out.

While constant access to a search engine with all the answers is brilliant, it makes the children more lazy. I was helping Mia with some science homework, which was questions based on a chapter in the text book. She was doing the homework by googling rather than reading back through the pages, and although she always found the correct answer I can't help but feel that the information isn't retained in the same way.  

The phone makes it so easy to procrastinate because a quick scroll is much easier on the brain than really thinking about something. I would have found it so easy to just grab my phone if something in my homework wasn't making sense, rather than working through it. I definitely would have found it difficult to get to things like music practice when I had easier entertainment on offer.

There's also the social aspect of the phone, and seeing what everyone else is up to at every moment. It must be so easy to feel left out if you are seeing pictures of your friends all out together and you've not been invited. Fortunately my children don't use social media yet, but they do use WhatsApp which has status updates similar to Instagram, and it has caused us issues with "games" like tagging your favourite friends.

Child sitting in loft bed with smartphone
Photo credit Bruce Mars via Unsplash

Out and about, I'm always dodging teenagers that are walking along with a phone in front of their face. The other morning I nearly hit a boy in the car, he walked right out in front of me while looking at his phone. Luckily I was driving slowly and was easily able to stop. What will they be like when they start driving if they can't put their phones down for any length of time?

I know that I'm sounding like a judgy old lady, but I actually find it really scary to think about what addictive apps like TikTok are doing to children's brains and attention spans (and of course my own too, I struggle with my own scrolling issues!) Maybe I need to lighten up a bit and just accept that this is how the world is now!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad too. Life was so much simpler back when I was a teenager without smartphones. We had to work harder to find things out without Google at our fingertips and I appreciate that, it seemed easier to learn. My girls are both on social media but they hardly bother with it, they are more about watching TikToks than creating them.


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