Magens Bay --San Thomas

Monday, October 15, 2012

Technology: A Total Distraction…

Recently, I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal, titled: “The Perils of Texting While Parenting”, describing how smart phones play a vital role in present parenting styles–distractionand perhaps this has led to the level of likelihood of accidents to rise and the increase of risk-takers in the generation to come....

"Studies have found that children are more likely to take risks when they aren't watched carefully. 'It may be that children can perceive the inattention and take more risk,' says Dr. Schwebel, the psychologist at the University of Alabama. When a parent is on a device, 'your kid may know that you are there but not paying much attention.'"wrote Linda Blake, a contributor editor to the Wall Street Journal.

Why so? The point the article is trying to get across is that we parents tend to take our eyes off our kids or even let go of their hands to check text messages, update our Facebook pages, or perhaps tweet about our daily events. Basically, when we leave our children unattended, tweeting, texting, or whatever it may be, our kids may decide to do something more adventurous–or mischievous. If we are watching, they may think twice about attempting to do so.

Sitting in the restaurant, a father is busy reading the sports or financial news; a mother focuses on her emails and taking photos for her Facebook; one kid plays a game on his iPad, while another texts her friends. Sound familiar? Although technology has accomplished incredible feats, it has definitely changed the way we interact with each other and has provided a crucial contributing factor –distraction—to our lives, which may lead to major catastrophes, to ourselves and to our children.

“Cellphone distraction may have played a role in a tragedy that befell one Florida family. On Dec. 14, 2009 , Shellie Ross called to her two sons, age 2 and 11, to come see a tortoise in the family's backyard in Merritt Island. At 5:17 p.m., she posted a cellphone photo of the tortoise on Twitter. Records of her tweets show she tweeted four more times over five minutes.

At 5:23, operators took a 911 call from the 11-year-old, police records show: His little brother was at the bottom of the swimming pool, unresponsive. The police report says that Ms. Ross pulled the boy out and performed CPR. Rescue workers rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late.
Ms. Ross told police at the time that she thought the boy was with his older brother. Police ruled the death an accident. Seven months later, the Florida Department of Children and Families concluded that "the death was a direct result" of inadequate supervision. The report noted: 'mother twittering at the time the child passed.'

Ms. Ross didn't return calls seeking comment.”–Wall Street Journal

Most people tend to push away the fact that they were distracted and didn’t pay attention while their kids are exploring and getting themselves into accidents. According to Ira Hyman, a professor at Western Washington University who specializes in human memory and cognition, devices such as smart phones are more distracting than we have realized; we may be looking at something or at our children, but our minds may not process the information because  they don’t really enter ‘our awareness’.

A sociologist at Clifford Nass of Stanford University discovered that it takes a while for us to refocus after looking intensely at our devices. We may look at our kids frequently and still miss the pre-warning signs which can lead to ultimate misfortune.

I didn’t  succumbed to the smart phone until a year and half ago, simply because I didn’t feel like I needed one. If I am at home, I would rather check emails on my computer than my iPhone. And, I don’t have my phone with me all the time, unless I am expecting important calls. I figured people who know me, would have my home phone number any way. (Yes, I am one of those who still rely on a land phone.)  I must say that having an iPhone is so convenient, especially when I am sitting and waiting, for I could read some emails and blogs or use the maps when I am lost. Even though I am not attached to my cell phone,  I am glued to my computer–constantly working, or reading emails and blogs. I feel like I am no longer as interactive as I used to be. Perhaps this is due to the fact that my girls are more independent but still, I must admit that technology does consume most of our attention and it has become a distraction in our lives.

Hope this blog will raise awareness among us to take a second look on how to balance between living with technology and giving the well-deserved attention to our next generation.

Not to mentionliving by examplehow our next generation is viewing us as their role models, while we expect them to focus on school not on technology.

Until next stop,
Journey of Life


  1. Ah, yes, it's quite a different world from when I grew up. I didn't see TV until I was about 12. And I don't have a smart phone or a Blackberry or an iPod or a tablet or any of those communications gadgets you're supposed to cart around with you. I do have a cell phone, but that's all it is - it doesn't even text. I use it to call cabs when I'm not driving. Why would I want to call people or text them or look at emails or tweet while I'm in the supermarket? I still can't get used to hearing someone talking and look around and find somebody completely oblivious to the world with a cell pnone stuck to their ear. I'm very low tech. Like you, Angela, I prefer doing all my work at home on the computer!

    1. :-)You got a friend in me :-) To be fair, I can't leave home without cell phone simply because that is the only way my loved ones can reach me.

  2. I can certainly see this one. It's even scarier when people are driving.

  3. it's a different world; I have to accept that, especially in the way my children interact in it. I have finally accepted that computers and wii games etc. is how they socialize; if I take that stuff away on playdates, I'm the nerdy mom. I do try to keep up a balance. But it is hard. We can't go back in time. It's only going to become a more computerized gadgety world.

    1. I don't mind the gadgets but I am hoping we won't trade them for our children's safety and the attention that they need.

  4. how heartbreaking. I've recently begun to notice how technology has overtaken my life. It's one thing to be on the computer for a little while at night, but it's quite another to be scrolling through facebook in bed or reading the news while out to dinner. Sadly, The Man and I are guilty of both. Something to rethink, especially with a little one in the house now.

  5. That is just plain scary!!


  6. Well written and a lot of truth in this.
    I know of 5 year olds having i phones, why? Because the parents can afford it.
    Then there is the peer pressure that acts in a different angle. "Daddy all my friends have a cell phone, why can't I?"
    Its turning out to be a vicious circle.

  7. Excellent post! It's so true that we become distracted with all of our electronic gadgets, and don't pay as much attention to our kids as we should. Thanks for creating this awareness of the problem!