Dear Grandparenting: I should begin by saying I am not an Internet-hater. I enjoy technologies that improve my quality of life, provided they’re not too darn complicated.
My complaint is what this technology does to my grandchildren. Do you have any idea how many hours they spend glued to smartphones, computers and whatever else that blinks and beeps? It rules their lives!
What I notice most is how it changes the ways they act with other people, like me. Conversations, if you call it that, are over so quick. Sixty seconds is about it. Then they start fiddling with their smartphones between sentences. Then they stop listening, and I’m left sitting there like a potted plant!
Leaves me wondering what my grandchildren will be like when they grow up. I know that so-called “social media” is the big thing with kids today. If you ask me, there’s nothing social about it at all. My grandchildren want to be left alone — cell phone in hand, of course. Your thoughts? Tammy Lynch, Mesa, Arizona
Dear Tammy: Don’t get us started. Is it really asking too much of this generation to sustain routine social interactions without technological accompaniment? Mid-conversation, they get that itchy feeling in their techno trigger finger and you’re history.
According to numerous studies, we’re at the point where adolescents and teens spend more time engaged with their devices than sleeping. Something has to give. Critics maintain this perpetual stream of techno stimulation gives grandchildren about the same attention span as a small flea, erodes social skills and inhibits their ability to form rich relationships.
We know of some grandparents that host family functions who insist their guests check their smartphones at the door. And you know what? WeÕre informed that every grandchild survived the ordeal, against all odds. Imagine that.
Grand remark of the week
Tasha Mendelson from Toms River, New Jersey remembers when people said no one was faster on the draw than a grandparent pulling baby pictures from their wallet for someone else to see.
“The updated version,” she said, “is how fast you can grab your cell phone and click on your baby photos.”
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.