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Cell phony: Are smart phones killing family communication?

Standing in a crowded waiting area at a restaurant, you struggle to find a place of comfort as you're bumping shoulders and rubbing elbows with total strangers. Even more uncomfortable, however, is what you see when you continue scanning around and paying attention to the conversations.
Or, lack thereof.
No, this waiting area didn't have families sitting down on benches and talking about how school was, whether mom or dad had productive days at work or just how the entire family is going to spend their upcoming weekend together.
Instead, talk was somewhere between minimal and nonexistent. That doesn't mean, however, parents and kids weren't keeping busy as dinner time was approaching. The chatter gave way to the annoying clicking sounds of all the aforementioned persons in question playing on their smart phones and tablets in lieu of actually talking.
This practice isn't just reserved for the restaurants or the dining area of your choosing. No, smart phones have not only created inept social skills across the boards but truly has taken the family dynamic as far as communication and rendered it moot and mute.

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More than 50% of the population own smart phones, and even more disheartening isn't so much buying and using one but rather the ages of those laying claim to these devices. Smart phone users have slowly drifted younger and younger from an age standpoint, with some kids as young as 10 or 11 owning their very own cell phone.
Some parents and other advocates of that practice argue that kids needs a means to contact parents after practice and other school related activities. That argument may have worked if not for the years prior to the inception and arrival of cell phones, when parents knew a pick up time and simply returned to the site where they dropped off the kids.
The larger issue isn't so much determining the exact end of the junior varsity basketball game for pick up purposes but rather the idea that cell phones, texting and even watching movies or videos take the place of talking about what happened at school or work that day. Keep in mind that plenty of parents set limitations on how much or often their kids use their cell phones. That mentality needs to be the standard rather than the exception, however.
In this situation, the majority can agree that the difference maker are the parents, particularly them setting the cell phone example. For instance, parents who text and send emails on their phone before or during dinner sends the wrong message, especially if those same moms and dads attempt to discipline kids for doing the same thing.
Parents have the onus on their shoulders, which is where it should be, pertaining to cell phones and exactly when those devices deserve to see the light of day. Banning kids from using the phones altogether is silly. Permitting them to use those "smart" devices during time that would be labeled as "family" is equally stupid.

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