Are smart phones dumbing us down?
Do you rely on your smartphone to instantly pull up a phone number or other piece of information? I know I do. So do our kids, even if they’re just using their parents’ phones. Personally, I don’t know what I’d do without my iPhone, but I had to take a second look at using mine not too long ago. The pivotal moment?
I can see it clearly in my mind. I had forgotten my phone at home and was using a landline at work to call one of my kids. The problem? I’d completely forgotten the phone number. Embarrassed, I vowed to memorize important numbers and never totally rely on a phone for important information.
Smartphones are an invaluable tool, but they’ve made us lazy, and as a result, our visual and auditory memory skills are becoming weak.
I urge all of you to take a second look at how your children are using iPads, iPhones, and other technology. I know I’ve given Morgan an iPad more than once when I had a phone call to make or needed her to be busy and safe. I’m just careful to balance it with real-world learning. Like playing board games, singing songs, marching, painting, swimming, or just taking a walk.
It’s hard for us to crawl inside our young children’s minds and see what’s going on, and the good news is that we don’t have to. It’s easy to limit screen time and focus on other activities that strengthen visual and auditory memory skills.
Here are a few things you can easily do:
- Play the memory game with a deck of cards or buy a concentration game.
- Play Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light. If your child is too old for this, just revise it so it can be adapted to older kids. For instance, you can play the same game only use rock stars or movie stars in place of Simon or the lights.
- Turn off all media and read old-fashioned books.
- Tell ghost stories in a tent. Make up the stories as you go.
- Get a bag and go for a nature walk. When you get home, try to remember all the items you put inside the bag.
- Get a joke book and read a joke to your child. Have him/her tell the joke back to you and discuss the punch line.
- Draw a simple picture on a piece of paper and hold it up to your child for about fifteen seconds. Take it away and have him/her draw it from memory.
There are so many fun things to do that don’t involve screen time. See if you can come up with some games on your own!
To your child’s success,