Put your phone away when you are 1-on-1 with your child.

February 16, 2023
Heath Wilson

I recall the exact moment in 2006. My wife and I were stuck in an Atlanta traffic jam in her 2002 VW Passat… with two wailing newborn twins. It was miserable. But that’s not the moment I recall with great clarity. It was the next weekend when we visited a Toyota dealership and bought a Toyota Sequoia. The salesperson showed us the video screens in the headrests and suggested we’d love these for our kids. At that moment, I scoffed. We scoffed. We will NOT be the parents who turn on movies during car rides. We’ll play “I spy”, we’ll look for state license plates, we’ll talk, laugh, and eventually, our kids will make up games just like I did when I was stuck in the back of a Volvo station wagon. I repeat - we will not be those parents (emphatically).

It didn’t last long. The animated movie Cars was released later that year. Lightning McQueen kept the twins captivated for hours at a time, on repeat honestly.

That was 2006, 1 year before the iPhone, 3 years before the “like” button on Facebook!! Today, you can’t go to a restaurant without seeing parents handing over devices to their kids. Recently, I saw a mom on her laptop and her son with VR headset on… in a booth facing each other!

I’m not judging, just stating facts. Devices are an easy button.

But, I would like to see a change. And, it’s not what you think. Devices for kids in cars, or in restaurants, or anywhere in public… that’s your prerogative. After all, I do prefer a quiet date night.

When you are 1-on-1… with your spouse, a friend, or with your child. Put the phone away. Not down, not on silent, not in your pocket, but away and preferably out of sight. That’s it. 

And here's why. 👇
Why? #1

When you put your phone away you bestow value on the person in front of you. You are telling them that they are more important than the other 7 billion people available behind the rectangular screen.

Why? #2

Our kids are modeling their behavior after us. We are the reason our kids instinctively reach for a device. It’s because we instinctively reach for our devices.

Why? #3

Let’s demonstrate that relationships are more important than the beautiful phone in our hands. Show them and they just might ask to play a game while driving, or you might just be willing to engage at dinner more intently.

Why? #4

Model it now so that the relationship with their device (and they’ll eventually have their own) will be different.

When 1-on-1, put it down. It’s that simple. Start today.

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