“Stop make me feel guilty for looking at my phone at the playground.”

I am feeling really guilty.

I have just watched a video of kids talking about how they feel about their parents’ addiction to technology.

“My mum, she spends all day on her computer and I feel sad because I won’t get to play with her on a board game or something,” says one little girl, looking miserable.

“They kind of just make me feel like they don’t care about us,” adds a softly spoken young boy, “because they’re just like on their phone.”

Ouch. I wonder what my kids would say about me, if someone with a camera asked them?

Most days, after I pick my kids up from school, I take them to the playground. I am, technically, still at work, so I check my work emails.

And then I check Facebook. I can’t help it. I have interesting friends. They do interesting stuff. They post links to interesting articles.

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Then my kids ask me to play freeze tag with them, and I do. And for 10 minutes, I get that satisfaction that comes from being able to run faster than a five-year-old.

She probably has her phone in her pocket.

It's a constant thing, parents being made to feel guilty about using their phones.

Last week, I read an article saying that kids were starting school unable to speak properly because their parents were "too busy checking their phones to talk to them". The UK's shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, compared parents using their phones around kids to parents smoking while their kids were in the car.

Ouch. Ouch!

I'm sure there are parents out there who do ignore their kids because they're more interested in their phones. But those are probably the kind of parents who would have been playing video games a few years ago, or watching TV a few years before that, or reading the newspaper a few years before that.

There is a danger of looking at our phones too much. But I don't think most of us should feel guilty. Look at it this way.

Our phones mean we don't have to be trapped at a desk when we're working. We can spend more time with our kids.

Our phones mean we don't get bored out of our brains at the playground. We can stay there longer and let the kids have more fun.

Our phones mean we don't feel isolated if we're at home with our babies. We can be part of adult conversations while dealing with the day-to-day drudgery of nappy changing.

Our phones mean we appreciate our kids more. We're always taking cute photos of them or remembering the funny things they say so we can share them with our friends.

Our phones make us better-informed parents. We can get instant advice on everything from great playgrounds near coffee shops to the latest research on allergies or autism.

Here's that video of kids talking about their parents' addiction to technology. Post continues after video.

I'm getting a bit tired of all this hate being dumped on phones. They're not like smoking (always bad). They're like red wine (good in moderation).

Okay, sometimes I get it a bit wrong. Sometimes I do spend too much time looking at something interesting on my phone instead of looking at my kids playing. But dammit, I'm there in the playground thanks to my phone. And I do spend some of my time running around with my kids, which is more than most parents of my parent's generation did. And I do play board games with my kids. And they were able to speak properly by the time they went to school.

Stop trying to make me feel guilty about my phone. Because I'm not giving it up.

Do you feel guilty about the amount of time you spend on your phone?

 

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