Smartphones get a lot of bad press. Apparently, not only do they make me a terrible parent, but they have the potential to turn my children into psychotic little technology craving junkies (their words, not mine). Do I see the potential for parental oversight, caused by digital distraction? Absolutely. Have I been sucked in by some meaningless Yahoo “news”, only to discover 15 minutes have gone by and the playroom wall has been visited by our resident graffiti artist? Guilty as charged. Surely I’ve experienced the “screen effect” whining that swiftly transitions to grovelling and then a full blown tantrum when my sweet three-year-old is denied her turn on my phone. You bet. I can not in good conscience, however, blame this in any way on my phone itself. It is user error, plain and simple – a failure to limit and self-regulate use of this amazing technology. Did I say amazing? Yes I did. Why? Because I LOVE my smartphone. Potential for life-altering catastrophe aside, here are five good reasons why I have a smartphone (and I don’t plan on ever going back!).
Reason #1 – My smartphone allows for instantaneous adult interaction. As a stay-at-home mom, life can get pretty boring at times. There are days that go by where my primary source of conversation is an energetic three-year-old who jumps from one topic to the next so quickly it makes my head spin. When the chatter about Barbies and baby dolls and all things pink, forces me to the brink of insanity, I can pull out my phone for some much needed adult interaction. Whether via text or Facebook or a good old fashioned phone call, my phone is a literal lifeline to the wonderful world of individuals used to slightly more sophisticated topics of conversation.
Reason #2 – My smartphone keeps me connected. Closely related to Reason #1, my phone allows me to keep up with friends and family, despite busy schedules and long distance. Virtually every day we are running here, there and everywhere. Our friends and family are no different. Trying to find a time to have even the most brief in-person meet ups is quite a task. In between, and especially during those long stretches where schedules conflict at every turn, my phone keeps us in touch. I’ve seen some grumping regarding the amount of pictures parents post of their children to Facebook and Instagram, but I have to admit I LOVE it! If it weren’t for these pictures, there would be months during which I never once laid eyes on my nieces and nephews. Could I log onto social media through my computer? Sure. But having 24 hour access in the palm of my hand? Doesn’t get much easier than that.
Reason #3 – My smartphone makes my business portable. Although technically this could be seen as a negative (how annoying are those urgent work alerts, just as you are about to cool off in the pool?), but I like to think the positive outweighs the negative on this one. Operating an online business requires internet access, which in the past had me tied to our home office. With the purchase of my first smartphone came almost instantaneous freedom. Now, instead of feeling like I have to sit at home to respond to messages and update product, the bulk of the desk work can be done on the go. I love having the flexibility to take my kiddos to the park and work while they play, or dash off a quick email as we explore the zoo. I do ignore messages from time to time, and tend to silence alerts when my children require it (because, let’s face it, we all need a break every once in a while), but having the ability to respond in a timely manner is one of the reasons I will forever be grateful to the inventor of this amazing device.
Reason #4 – My smartphone keeps me organized. As I said before, we are an extremely busy family these days. For the most part, we have managed to perfect the juggling act that is school, karate, softball, gymnastics, band…the list goes on and on. I credit this largely in part to my phone. I am not, as anyone who knows me can attest, the world’s most organized person. What I AM is forgetful. Thank goodness for the plethora of options my phone provides to remind me of all those “can’t miss” daily events. Having a calendar in my back pocket has saved us from disaster many a time. Having access to my email is a huge plus as well, as those time changes and cancellations were once lost on our desktop computer for days at a time. There is nothing worse than bundling four kids into the car, only to find upon arrival that practice has been rescheduled for another day.
Reason #5 – My smart phone can literally save the day. Or the shopping trip. Or the doctor’s visit. Or, well, you get the idea. The person who invented the smartphone was a genius. The person who created the first app for children? A gift from God!! Many a meltdown have been prevented by a quick swipe of the finger. My kids will do anything for five minutes of the Lego game. Anything. Even if it means sit still in the cart and for the love of GOD stop kicking me while you do!! If smartphones merely existed for this singular purpose, I think it’s safe to stay I’d still be a pretty big fan.
For these reasons and many others like them – thank you, smartphone. I don’t know where I’d be without you… but it’s pretty much guaranteed it wouldn’t be at the right place or the right time!