Dear parents: Mem Fox thinks you’re doing it wrong.
Well, to be fair – not all parents. Those of you who had little ones prior to about 2007 are probably in the clear.
It’s the new generation of parents that are in trouble. The ones who have smartphones and tablets. The ones who let their children use those smartphones and tablets.
The ones who breathe a giant sigh of relief when those mesmorising sounds and colours start their campaign of awesome distraction… freeing Mummy or Daddy to head off to do something, you know, adult.
Really, it’s a downward spiral.
It starts with only letting kids use the iPad on long car trips. Or they get to use it for 15 minutes a day after they’ve done all their homework and helped load up the dishwasher.
But then it’s a rainy day and, well, the kids are just so happy playing Peek-a-Zoo so you let them play with apps much longer than usual.
And then you’re in line at the bank and the kids are kicking up a fuss and everyone is staring at you and judging away, so you hand over your iPhone and they finally stop carrying on like a bunch of hyenas on crack.
And then it’s 5pm on a Wednesday and all three children are screaming and/or crying and dinner is on the stove and it’s just so easy to say “HERE, TAKE THE iPAD” and hand it over so that they shut up for just five minutes.
“Oh Tiny Wings, what did I ever do without you?” we all wonder with religious-like fervor.
Before you know it, the kids are dashing home every afternoon and gluing themselves to the iThings. And you’re letting them because it’s easy and because it’s convenient and because life is busy enough without having to entertain your children every second of every day.
Welcome to 2013.
A world where everything is now infiltrated by technology. Where kids know how to swipe an iPhone open before they can even walk. Where littlies have eBooks instead of bookshelves, and apps instead of board games. Where companies make special phone cases for kids, so they don’t destroy gadgets worth hundreds of dollars.
Mem Fox, for one, does not approve.