The Monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey–and Our Cell Phones

Have you ever noticed that a cell phone is shaped like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey? As in the scene where the apish proto-people dance about it in fascination…Good technology can be and will be misused….What are we modeling for children when we’re too fixated on smartphones, tablets etc ? Recently I was in a convenience store–to my surprise it had a display of cell phones. A small child, perhaps 6, was looking at them, trying to pluck one down. The child spent some time at this–candy was nearby, and toys. But he was into that cell phone. His mom had to call him away from it several times. I often see adults ignoring their children in parks, in their yards, etc, when they think they’re engaging in “quality time” with the kid but the parent is thumbing the phone, thumbing, thumbing. And you can see the kid’s frustration. I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, “That is unintentional, passive child abuse. Slow child abuse but genuine.” These are small children hungry for interaction. . .They will turn to the phone, the monolith, for their interaction, their comfort, their replacement “parenting”…

Tech is good–I’m using it to write. But we can be, as Paul Mavrides said, “tech drunk”.

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