Lethal Weapon in Our Children’s Hands

Momservation: If you wouldn’t have the courage to say what you’re about to post to someone’s face, then that should be a clue not to do it.

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I have a love/hate relationship with many things:

  • My Body Pump class on Thursdays that makes me hurt for a straight hour but then afterward makes me feel like I can conquer the world with my Buns of Steel.
  • Ranch dressing, Oreos, Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream…love them all but hate that it makes me have to go to Body Pump.
  • My smart phone.

I love that my iPhone keeps me connected to my kids so I don’t have to worry. I love that I’ll never be lost again with my map app (unless I were to use Google Maps, which I don’t). I love that no one can ever stump me with a question with my instant access to Google.

I hate that my phone has me addicted to every kind of bubble, gem and jewel game. I hate that if I have a second of down time I mindlessly reach for my phone. I hate that I can’t resist constantly checking in to my social apps.

But mainly, I hate what smart phones have done to society.

Just as dangerous as a car or a gun

Just as dangerous as a car or a gun

I believe they’ve become lethal weapons:

  • Distracted drivers and their smart phones rule the roads and are raising body counts every year.
  • Kids are using their phones to cyber bully others to the point of suicide at an alarming rate.
  • People “connecting” more through social media facilitated by phones rather than true interpersonal connections are creating a society that thinks nothing of attacking each other through “anonymous” or insensitive postings without the consequence of facing the pain they’ve inflicted.

Though both my teenagers have iPhones, I’m doing everything I can to keep these electronic devices from turning into lethal weapons in their hands:

  • I’m laying the groundwork now before they get their driver’s licenses that distracted driving will be zero tolerance.
  • I work on modeling responsible smart phone behavior by keeping my phone in my purse while I drive.
  • We put our phones away when we have the opportunity to socialize in person.
  • I monitor their social media and electronic communications.
  • They aren’t allowed to be on sites like ask.fm where people are allowed to hide behind anonymity and have a tendency to be cruel and incite drama.
  • They are discouraged from spending too much time on sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that fuel teenage anxiety and insecurity by basing their self-worth on “Likes” and “Followers.”
  • SnapChat is a privilege based on trust and maturity and can be revoked at any time.
  • Phones are to be used for good and not evil.

I know I can model, teach, and enforce responsible smart phone usage and my kids can still be “taken out” by the idiots that are inevitably around us. But smart phones are not going to go away and besides instilling responsible phone ownership and practicing “defensive driving” of these lethal weapons, I only know one other way to keep my kids safe from the dangers that lurk:

Put the dang phone down and go outside and play with an actual person.

Love it.

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