I like to people watch. Let’s face it, people are interesting and you just never know what you will see. When you think you have seen it all, boom there it is and in a flash you are sucked into moment and shot back out. Personally, I think it’s much more entertaining than “reality” TV.
I’m lucky to have a clear view of the bike path behind our house. It’s a busy paved path that bustles with movement from runners, walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, and everything in-between. Something strange has happened on the path over the past 20 years. It’s not a new phenomenon to our community, sadly this shift has happened all over the world. Today when I look at the path many people are looking down, not up, or even at each other.
Looking out it’s strange…
To see youth walking together in a group and not talking.
To see a phone taking precedence over a smiling baby.
That neighbours don’t notice or acknowledge each other.
That nobody takes notice of the senior who has just tumbled in front of them.
That people are running into each other on foot, bike, and car because they were looking down.
When did we decide our cyber chats and websites are more valuable to us than the people, places and things in front of us?
I’m guessing the whole science of why is likely another blog. I strongly suspect some of it has to do with instant gratification and our ability to self-regulate our needs.
As parents, we have the power to influence this evolution and play a key part in shaping the outcome. Our generation has had the unique experience of living in a world before the arrival of mobile devices. Let’s share our learnings and try to teach our kids how to balance both, it’s a great opportunity for us. There are lots of different ways families can manage their relationship with electronics.
6 tips towards a healthy relationship with personal electronics in the home:
- Make meal times about conversation- turn off the electronics
- Set boundaries around time and space with electronics
- Role model your expectations – walk the talk
- Build your kids comfort levels in social situations, teach them conversational manners
- Together find enjoyable activities to build their character and self-confidence
- Emphasize the value of face to face connections and developmental relationships
- Explain the importance of being socially aware i.e. reading body language, social cues, learning from each other.
Next time you’re out, make a personal pact to put your phone away (tough I know)! Try your best to be present and mindful of the people and places you around you. Remember, you are a role model, teacher and ambassador of how rich and valuable life can be! So look up, around and at each other, you just never know what you might see 🙂