During one of my usual breakfasts at a local cafe, I sat next to a father, mother and son. The child seemed about seven or eight. Dad was busy on his cellphone. Mom was busy on hers. The boy stood next to his father and tapped the man on his arm. He wanted to say something.
The father impatiently pushed him away, saying: ‘Leave me alone.’
I see this kind of thing too often. I don’t like it, but usually don’t intervene. It isn’t my business, but I was so sad and angry and bothered by it this time, I took the liberty as an old crone to butt in.
‘Excuse me sir,’ said I, ‘Your son wants to talk to you. They grow up so quickly, before you turn around, he’ll be married. Please listen to him now.’
Much to my surprise, the parents didn’t tell me to shut up and mind my own business. Instead, the dad explained he was working.
I suggested he take a little time off during breakfast to listen to the child. Then I went back to my coffee and book. The next time I looked up, all three were on their cellphones.
What will happen to all these young children I see who sit quietly while parents are attached to technology and are encouraged to do the same?
I also worry about the damage being done to the vision of toddlers I see on the bus in strollers, kept quiet and occupied with mom’s cell phone.
Parents are so attached to those blankity-blank phones everywhere — walking, in restaurants, and one can safely assume, at home as well. Will their children even learn how to talk?
Will these quiet children ever know the pleasure of conversation which I so enjoy? Who will talk to them? I worry. Or am I just being cranky?