Chirrup. Chirrup. Chirrup.
My phone’s blowing up and I’m in the middle of a meeting.
Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.
I’m flicking away the messages as I try to record a podcast.
‘Hey! Matilda! Can you talk!’ a Giphy of a bulldog puppy wearing sunglasses and a lolling tongue pops up as I’m trying to type a work email.
My phone, it seems, is no longer my phone.
I am not Matilda. But my phone is full of messages for her. Faces of little girls and their puppies, taco emojis and fluffy kittens dancing.
Yes, my iPhone has been invaded by my tween.
Matilda is 10. All she wants, in the entire world, is a phone of her own. And that’s not at all surprising.
After all, I got my first smart phone the year she was born, and she has spent her entire life looking at me, looking at it.
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Not in a bad way. Oh no, I remember to put it down occasionally, to stare lovingly at her, to notice what she and her brother are up to, to look at the view, to pat the dog.
But all her life she’s known that my phone has FUN in it. Movies. Games. Books. Friends. Photos. Music.
I can keep trying to tell her she’s not missing out on anything, that she can wait for all of that, but who am I kidding? If our phones were not so much fun, would we constantly have one on our person at all times?
Obviously, judging by the constant unfurling of my WhatsApp feed, some of M’s friends do have phones already. And yet, I am terrified of putting all that power in my little girl’s hand.
In my mind, it’s a gateway to the adult world. All the good things mentioned up there – art and connection and entertainment and laughs – but also, the darker things. The judgement of others. The eyes of strangers. Things about the world she can’t yet understand – that she shouldn’t yet understand.