Growing up with technology


Dear Grandparenting: It’s become awfully hard to talk to my grandchildren about anything. They have the attention span of a small flea and I know the reason.

It’s those darn little telephones. People call them smart phones, but I don’t know why. I call them dumb phones. They suck the life right out of those kids.

My grand kids would have me believe dumb phones are essential for directions and maps, email, calculator, weather, news feeds, emergency information and what have you. Maybe so, but the bad outweighs the good by a country mile.

I can’t quote you gospel and verse, but I understand these phones come to control their little lives and makes them moody. Granddaughter Alexis, always cool as a cucumber, acted like her hair was on fire when she couldn’t find her phone for TWO WHOLE MINUTES.

My grand kids are never without it. Either the phone is in hand or right beside them, one or the other, always. Those phones have taken over. What’s your advice? Louisa Spotswood, Beacon, N.Y.

Dear Louisa: We’ve long since lost count of studies on the negative impact that cell phones and social media apps can exert on grandchildren.

Youthful users of TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook etc. do open themselves up to bullying, depression, loneliness, self-harm, offensive and sexual imagery and even suicide, according to numerous reports.

A group of Brooklyn, N.Y. teens made news after gathering weekly in a park to experience and promote the idea of a technology-free existence. They read, sketch, talk and simply be together, and call themselves the Luddite Club, named after British folklore hero Ned Ludd, an 18th century textile worker who smashed a mechanized loom to protest industrialization.

It’s not for everybody, but as the Luddite movement spreads to other schools, it gives youngsters something to think about, gets the conversation going. At that age, it’s not about what you say. It’s what their peers say that matters.

Grand remark of the week:

Polly Wing from Morehead City, N.C. rushed outside to rescue granddaughter Wendy from a pack of boys in their back yard after the boys’ touch football game rudely interrupted the tea party Wendy was having with her dolls.

Polly helped Wendy gather up her dolls and miniature tea set pieces and they headed inside. “Thanks Grandma,” said Wendy. “My dolls were about to get very upset.”

Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.

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