Dear boys,

We live in a country where almost everyone has a digital mobile devices, in an MRT train, almost everyone has their eyes glues to their 5 inch world. The invasion of mobile devices permeates every fabric of our society, we cannot live without our mobile devices.

There are no shortage of statistics out there pointing to the numbers, figures and percentages on penetration, usage, ownership relating to mobile devises usage vis-a-vis the population and demographics.

It is a tool

These devices, are fun, easy and so, that makes them so convenient to go to. Your dad uses smart phone for work, and play, so does your mum, but we still talk, in person, as often as we can. We watch movies from the net, we do it as a family. It is not my habit to watch movie on my mobile phone, but listening to music; yes, as I’ve been doing that since the time of Walkman.

The tool did not become the master

It is a tool, and I can see that the both of you using it as such, The tool did not become the master. There shouldn’t be a concern since both your parents also use these devices like tools. It helps use in many, many ways, but it doesn’t have an identity over us. Your mum and I are not constantly glued to our phones, we are not obsessed chasing phantom pocket monsters, while I appreciate the technological advances in Augmented Reality, I am not a big consumer of it.

For some, the use of mobile devices has reached an addictive level, it affects relationships, social interactions and human to human (H2H) communications. Sometimes, when I am in a train and I accidentally stepped on someone’s shoes, I’d like to apologise but all I got was a blank stare. I like to plug into my music, via my smart phone and when a person accidentally stepped on my toes, they’d save on saying ‘sorry’ because  even if they say it, I’m plugged to music and probably won’t hear the apology anyway. We are all technologically swaddled in our own cocoon.

Diffusion of innovation

Mobile devices has become so prevalent that adults are getting it for the children. In Singapore, middle class affluence means mobile devices are affordable, it is a norm for people to have 2 mobile phones for reason I cannot understand nor comprehend.

In many cases, the parents are buying mobile phones for their children and thus children has become active users of mobile phones as well. You can see in many food courts all around Singapore, a child as young as 5, cannot eat a meal without glued to a show on the mobile phone, take it away and all hell breaks loose.

So I’m sure many people have devised methods, rules to limit and control the use of mobile devices.

Do we have a ‘Mobile Device Policy’ at home?

No.

Do we need one?

No.

As far as your childhood is concerned, you boys still have tonnes of toys, real physical toys. And you boys have each other, and you both are still playing with each other, making up stories, flying toy planes, fighting, chatting, arguing. There is too much banter between you both, that there is simply no need for a mobile device to be introduced into your life. I still see you boys going to your toys and playing with each other so this is still a healthy way of bring up the both of you and in no time, now or the near future, will I plan to introduce mobile devices into your lives.

Yes, I do let the both of you play with the Ipad (thanks to Auntie Kat, who gave it  to us), I observed that there seem both of you are not addicted in anyway to it, at any given opportunity. There are times, I have to tell the both of you to stop using the Ipad, or stop playing games on your parents’ phone, but I also have to nag at the both of you to drop your toys and come for dinner.

In short, these mobile devices are part of your play activities, not the main activities. Which is why there is no need for me to restrict the amount of time you boys are on these devices, simply because you boys are not clocking massive amount of time on these devices.

Not keeping up with the Jones

In school, many kids have mobile phones, I didn’t get on for you boys, as there is no need to have one. You mum are there to fetch you most of the time, and if you boys need help, you can head down to the general office and ring us from there. When we are out, you boys are almost never out of our sight and there is no need for you to go wandering off on your own, and have to rely on a mobile phone to reach us. We as your parents, are always never far, in flesh and blood.

Technology is a good servant, but a bad master

While we cannot escape the increasing use of technology, mobile devices and other kind of gadgets and stuffs, we must not forget that we are after all, humans, we use all these to leverage and make our lives better. But ultimately, our lives are better if we deal with reality squarely in the face, and not escape into a 5 inch world, playing games, engrossed with social media, stuck to chasing Korean dramas.

Life will always evolve around human to human interaction. You cannot avoid suffering, making difficult choices, screw ups and dealing with people. Having a phone helps to make our lives easier, but it does not make life. We have to make life, we have to make our lives work, and we must never forget that we are the masters of our own lives, and these devices are not our life, they do not dictate us, define us, and we must not allow ourselves to become unwitting slaves to these devices

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2 thoughts on “Our family’s digital policy

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