put it down & live a little: children & technology

July 13, 2012

Laying diagonally on my bed, with my feet in the air, twirling my hair and watching a lava lap with my telephone cord stretched across the room—I’m talking to my best friend, Christina. This scene was ever-present in my childhood—almost daily. Will our children talk to their friends on the phone like this? Probably not.
please refrain yourself from commenting on how good I look
Technology has evolved and become as present in our lives as breathing. We are attached to our smartphones, computers and tablets—including children.

Laying on my loft bed, or hanging out on the futon while painting my nails, I rarely multitasked while talking to my boyfriend (now husband) on the phone when I was in college.

Verbal communication is a thing of the past. I shouldn’t feel old writing this post, but at the tender age of 27, I feel ancient when reflecting on my past.
college days. Christina (middle) my BFF since pre-school
Facebook was something only college students had access to in 2004 and it was a network we checked once or twice a day, not once or twice every few minutes. MySpace was a place to fill out surveys, spend time pretending to be a graphic designer and web editor—adding blinkies, photos and favorite songs to pages. Email was primarily for school—communicating with professors, classmates and keeping up to date on campus news.

Growing up, in my opinion, we were more focused. We spent our childhood years being children, playing outside, playing pretend (school, teacher, restaurant) and doing our homework. Nowadays, children are texting, following celebrities on Twitter, never visiting a library and growing up too fast.
don't hate
I sat in the grocery cart, rode in the car and ate dinner with my family without any problems as a child. I didn’t need to listen to music, play video games or text during any of those activities and I most certainly did not have to carry my Gameboy around Disney World. Children can survive without the distraction of technology—we are proof.
maybe a technology distraction would've been good
Technology is awesome and so is social media, but we should take it in moderation. I’m the pot calling the kettle black. I think children should have to go to a library, learn to use a card catalog and those horrific encylopedias. Not because it’s what we did, but because it builds character, life skills, patience (or impatience) and feeds the brain.
we lived on the lake
Children should call their best friends with exciting news, prank call their crushes, use a phone book, play pretend, enjoy playing outdoors and get really excited when a new video game or system comes out. Christina and I didn't play games with each other on our cellphones (obviously we couldn't) but we were creative and played Clue, Jr. on the phone. I didn't cheat, but I swear she did! :) We begged our parents for video phones that cost hundreds of dollars...and now we FaceTime! 
we put a lot of miles on the pedal boat
I know we cannot change the present and the future won’t move backwards in terms of technology, but we can all do our best to make sure children are children. I am glad I didn’t really know about celebrities as a child—I wasn’t watching TMZ, following them on Twitter, hearing about sex tapes and scandals. I read Bop and cut out photos of JTT and Andrew Keegan.
we may or may not have been intoxicated, but we were having fun!
Techonology is exciting. Smartphones are convenient and fun. Grammar, spelling, writing and speaking are all suffering because of laziness and short hand texting and social networking lingo. Teachers are seeing shorthanded words and abbreviations in school essays and assignments.
this is the face i make now if there is no wifi on the beach ;)
We live in a fast-paced life now where we don’t have the time to write out a full word, call someone and wait for the phone to ring and rarely do we leave voicemails. We run to non-verbal communication when something exciting happens. Hey text friends or Facebook world, guess what?!

Don’t lose sight of what is important. Call your friend when you get engaged or find out you are pregnant. Don’t type five paragraph essays via text, pick up the phone and tell the story. Answer the phone when someone you’re texting with calls—they know you’re right there. Hang out with your friends in person, and put your phones down.

Initially this post was going to be about technology has affected the dating scene, but I had so much fun reminiscing about my childhood that it turned into a preachy mom speech. I’ll be writing that post for next week. I’m off to go call a co-worker instead of exchanging 5-20 emails back and forth before we have everything figured out or get frustrated with lack of understanding the previous email.
move over, lady gaga
Pick up the phone and call a friend. Play with your children outside—who cares about a grass stain. Live life a little without wifi and emojis. Click here to read about surviving deployments before and after technology. Click here to read Generation Ungrateful.

I tried to include photos from my childhood, but definitely need to make a trip to Michigan to scan all the photos I wish I had copies of here. 


  1. Chelsea, Love your trip down memory lane, and no, I "don't hate" the photo. (You know me too well that I avoid the camera!)I can scan more photos for you, so that way I can select the good ones! ;-)
    You did enjoy a creative childhood full of amazing experiences! Even if you had the present-day technology then, you wouldn't have let it get in the way of your creative energy. I know you and Travis will provide Brady with a world of opportunities and allow him (and you!)to enjoy his childhood!
    (*lava lamp*)
    Love you all!

  2. Saying hi fro SITS! Great points! As a mom of two teenagers, one who is a tech whiz, I grapple with these issues all the time. So glad that last week and next they are camp counselors as an outdoor camp without technology. But before that, my son went to Google I/O. And my 82 year old mother and I text all the time. It saves me hours of phone time that I don't have. But my childhood was like yours and my kids, if given the choice, will go to their room and hang out with their friend on FB or Skype. It's a constant battle - worthy of lots of discussion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. I enjoyed reading your post. I had a similar childhood. Growing up in the 80's we played outside from sun up to sun down because there wasn't really any alternative. I often think about what my child's generation will be missing out on, all the imaginative rowdy playing. But, I also can't help but wonder what our parents/grandparents generations thought about us as kids. They probably thought the amount of time we watched Saturday cartoons or spent on the phone with our besties was extreme. Visiting from SITS - Have a wonderful week :)

  4. This is great. I have an 8 month old little boy and frequently wonder what his growing up experience will be like. He has a toy phone that has a rotary dial. He'll never know what that is!!

    Stopping by from SITs.

  5. Absolutely hit the nail on the head! I want fun for my child, thanks. Not having her holed up on the couch with a phone in her hands all day.
    In from SITS.