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Even as the mom and dad were busy on their respective mobile phones, the rest of the family, a 3-year-old and a 7-year old, were busy on their iPads, at the dining table next to me at the restaurant.
My friend was visiting the city after a few years, and I had gone out for a quick meal with her. The plan was to catch up on each other’s lives and share some mommy time talking about how we were managing the kids, home and work and all the usual. After placing the order, I saw the two kids at the table next to mine, and the mother in me did a quick oh-I-am-also-missing-my-kids-now moment.
I was imagining how difficult it would have been to sit and talk to my friend if my kids were around. They would be talking to her non-stop, trying to get her attention, checking the menu, telling me tons of dishes they wanted to eat and getting confused between what to really order, and trying to eat from each other’s plate once the food arrived.
Even though there were kids, the amount of silence was disturbing...
That is when I realized that there was something wrong about the unusual quietness that was so heavy at the table next to mine, where I had seen those two kids sitting with their parents.
As I turned to look at them again, I realized why everything was so quiet. Both the parents were busy on their phones, while the little 3-year-old, and her older brother, about 7 or 8, were both playing on their iPads.
I felt really sad at the thought of how the very essence of the Indian family time was vanishing. Remember those times, even in our childhood, when everyone would sit together at the dining table and talk about their day loudly, with a lot of friendly teasing here and there?
I know there have been times when I have tried to keep my kids busy and get myself some peace and time by handing them a gadget. And so have my friends. According to a study done by Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai, 50 percent of Indian children and teens suffer from various spinal problems due to regular use of a mobile phone or gadget.
So I decided to ask my friends about that one time they would definitely hand a gadget to their kids to keep them busy.
“I always give her the mobile when I have to make rotis. I hate making them and if she tries to talk to me while I’m doing it, it gets even more irritating.”
“At the kitty party, obviously. She is 3 na and keeps getting bored and running here and there. I always make sure that I take her so that I can look after her even when I am having fun, and she always enjoys those 3 to 4 hours on the I-pad.”
“At the mall when I have to shop for groceries. I place him in the cart with the tablet and finish my shopping without being disturbed.”
“Definitely during meal times. It’s so difficult to make them eat, but with the I-pad or the TV on they always finish the food without me having to ask them to eat over and over again.”
I could see the pattern here. Whenever we need some peace and quiet, we hand the gadget to the kid and all is well. We complain that our kids are always on the mobile, or are always watching TV and not socializing. But do we ever realize that it is us who took away their chance at a real play time or an interactive childhood?
Also Read: Plugged in parenting: Being glued to your mobile phone is hurting your family, new study finds
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Mum to two naughty little girls, Debolina is a wanderer at heart. She loves writing about lifestyle, parenting, health, wellness, beauty and care, as well as dabble in poetry. Her words can be found on her blogs, as well as a host of different websites and publications.
She also loves interacting on social media, taking off on sudden trips on the road, reading, photography and music. Favourite pastime? Goofing with her little girls!
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