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Cell phones shouldn’t get in way of children

While at a recent event at Westside Elementary, I noticed the behavior of a few of the parents that made me wonder why they had even bothered to show up.

While the children were running around having a good time, these few parents spent 85-100 percent of their time on cell phones. I wasn’t nosy enough to see if they were texting or web surfing, but they were paying absolutely no attention to the kids, thereby defeating the point of having gotten up, dressed and driven to the school.

The kids were having so much fun running from one thing to the next they probably never noticed the lack of attention, but I did.

This is getting to be a frequent problem. At the track and field day event a few days later, I noticed the same thing. That is an event where a child wants to know his mama or daddy is there watching him do his best representing his class in his/her chosen event.

Some people may be using their phones to take pictures or videos, but it’s pretty obvious when you’re looking down at the phone, shielding it from the reflection of the sun that, unless you’re taking a picture of ants crawling on the ground, you’re not paying attention to your child.

This is true at home also. The invention of social media and its increasing popularity cause many people’s lives to come to a screeching halt. They may socialize more now than ever, but they do it by never moving from in front of a computer screen or cell phone. I can understand how wrapped up people get on Facebook — I’ve done it. You can plan on a few minutes catching up with your ‘friends’ on Facebook, but if you’re not careful that can turn into hours.

Parents are spending more time keeping up with people they haven’t spoken to in years on Facebook and staying in everyone else’s business instead of spending time with their family at home. With the high-tech phones on the market now, you can take your addiction with you everywhere. Driving in the car, walking through a mall, eating dinner. There’s no end to the possibilities.

If we as parents put as much effort into raising our children to be good, responsible, hard working adults, instead of social media and texting or talking on the phone, the world wouldn’t be going down the tubes as fast as it is.

I made a point of not going near a computer most evenings the last few weeks until all the kids were in bed and chores were done. My Farmville crops withered, my pet is starving and my frontier is overrun with weeds and trees, but my family is happier. I still check in on Facebook for 5-10 minutes in the evenings, if I don’t fall asleep first.

I never completely ignored my family, but I just realized that an hour every evening I could be spending with my kids wrestling on the bed is making me much happier than spending that same hour sitting in front of a computer screen. I get to burn off some calories and make memories to last a lifetime!

If you are going to attend an event with your kids, whether it’s at school, church or a family gathering, put up the phone. Enjoy the time you have with your kids, because before you know it, they will be grown and those moments will be nothing but memories.

Jessica Prevatt is a married mother of two boys and the advertising/production director at The Baker County Press.

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