September 6, 2011
I was listening to public radio the other day and I heard a great story about multi-tasking. The point of the segment was that all of the technology that we rely on daily has actually changed the way our brains function. Our brains (and those of our teenagers) have actually changed to accept lots of little bits of information all at once. We’re actually more efficient when we are being bombarded with tidbits on a constant basis, right? So this NPR story is my excuse for being plugged in, constantly. I got my first cell phone when I was in college. It was huge, minutes were a fortune, and calls got dropped all the time. But I had the cell phone and it was great in an emergency. I’m not sure exactly when the cell phone morphed from being an emergency tool to being an extension of my hand, but I do know that having kids was a pivotal event in my cell phone relationship. It makes sense as part of the big picture; certainly, I need to be easily reachable by school, the babysitter, a neighbor. A good mom is never off the grid. But at some point, that cell phone went from something useful for keeping me in touch with my children to something that I can’t live without. I know every tone and button on my phone…I can tell you if that ring was an email, a text message, or a Facebook notification. I have never had a bet last any longer than the amount of time it takes me to get online with my phone and Google the answer.
However, I realized it was time for an intervention when I was walking down the grocery store aisle the other day, and my son had his face in his Nintendo DS. I asked him to kindly put down the video game and engage with me in the real world. He raised his eyebrows, and looked pointedly at my hand, attached to which sat my cell phone. “Fair enough,” I said. “Fair enough.”