Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Christmas Presence: Give the Kids Your Attention before They're Left to Their Own Electronic Devices

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Christmas Presence: Give the Kids Your Attention before They're Left to Their Own Electronic Devices

Article excerpt

PRESENTS ARE A DIME A DOZEN THIS TIME OF YEAR. But presence--that's another matter entirely. The ability of family members to be truly present to one another is under siege--from kids' over-the-top sports schedules, extracurriculars, sometimes even too-abundant homework. The other culprits sucking up family time, however, are devices we've bought and introduced into our children's lives, often heedless of what we are unleashing. Some true stories:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

My friend took her daughter and her classmate, Susie, out to breakfast after they served at early Mass one Sunday. Susie slumped throughout the meal, head down. "Wow, she's so shy," thinks my friend. Finally she realizes the girl has been texting all during breakfast.

At a Cubs-Brewers game in Milwaukee, we sit next to a dad, mom, and their son, who's about 10--Brewers fans. The boy barely looks at the ballgame, riveted to the video games on his dad's cell phone. A jovial Cub fan nearby says, "Hey kid, did you know there's a game going on here? I'm sorry you're cheering for the wrong team, but still!" The kid smiles and returns to the phone; four innings later the dad finally takes it away. The child begs, pouts, glares. Finally in the 8th inning of a fairly close game, they climb over us to leave. The dad snarls at his son, "We're leaving because you can't even watch a baseball game!" Helping a child appreciate baseball requires considerable parental time, creativity, and patience, none in evidence here.

Jo Frost, of TV's Supernanny, critiques one episode's parents on their nonstop cell phone use. She locks everyone's phones in a large glass jar for two days where the desperate, phoneless family members can see them tantalizingly lighting up and ringing, with no way to answer them.

My 30-something niece recalls the relief of leaving high school, going home, and tuning out of overwrought teen goings-on for the evening, saying, "I don't know how kids stand having to be on call to their friends 24/7 for text messages--all that drama with no escape! …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.