Recently we visited Three Bears Acres for my daughter and my niece’s birthday. If you’re not familiar with it, they describe themselves as an outdoor activity farm. This is not a plug for Three Bears Acres, but my family really loves going there. It is just a cool place to be outside, play in the dirt, let kids yell and run around like crazy, and even a place where adults can let their hair loose a little bit as well.
It was a beautiful late summer day, the sun was shining, it was warm but not hot, and the kids we were all having fun and not arguing. The kind of day as a mom you can kind of relax and say, ahhh, life is good. As we were standing in line for the toboggan slide for the umpteenth time, I noticed all the parents around me had their smart phone out and recording. They were recording their kids going down the slide, they were recording themselves going down the slide, they were documenting every second of their visit. Since that day I’ve been noticing this trend everywhere. It’s got me thinking, why do we feel the need to document every second of every experience? Is preserving this moment for the future subtracting from their current experience?
I can’t answer for others, but for me the answer is yes. It usually goes something like this: I pull my phone out to take a cute picture of my kid. But then a notification grabs my attention, and then a quick text, and then I decide to post that cute picture to Facebook. I do, but then I get distracted by all the cute kid pictures my friends are posting, and oh… that recipe looks good…what are we having for dinner…all the while, in the background are cries of “mom…hey mom…look at me…watch me…did you see that?” And really the short answer is no, I didn’t see because I was too busy looking at somebody else’s kid I haven’t talked to in 15 years.
You may be thinking I just have ADD, and it’s definitely possible, but I also don’t ever do anything with all the pictures I take. Occasionally I do send a few to be printed, but that may only be 10 of the hundreds I take in a given year. I did learn about a couple of apps where you can send them the pictures from your phone and they print out a photobook for you. I’m going to give it a try because to be clear I’ve taken my fair share of photos, but I’m also going to go old school and start carrying my camera again. This will probably mean a lot less pictures, but hopefully it will mean a lot more quality time with my kids.
I don’t think smart phones are bad, but for me they are just too distracting. We don’t have any pictures of that day because we made the decision to leave our phones in the car, but I do have a ton of great memories and so do my children.