Happiness and Flat Family
Happiness is… usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults. ~Thomas Szasz
So recently there has been a lot of discussion on the radio and in the news about the impact that all of our day-to-day digital technology may be having on our children. One of the recommendations is that very young children (under 2 years old) should have no time in front of a screen. So no time on an I-Pad, a cell phone or even a television. The main point of this recommendation is that screen experiences are almost always non-interactive and when they are, they don’t provide the type of interactions that toddlers need to develop normal social and cognitive skills. Now, this probably isn’t realistic in today’s world and the researchers understood this, recommending that if you are going to let the little ones play with your technology you should do it with them so that the experience is interactive. One technology that seems to be ok is Skype or Facetime because it is interactive for the little ones and helps them develop social skills as well as keeping in touch with flat grandparents and others.
There has been a curious phenomenon that has developed due to this technology and one that I am experiencing with my littlest niece, Rooney. You see I live 3000 miles away from most of my family so the majority of my interaction with them, my nieces and nephews included is via electronic means. I did meet little Rooney in person, now about 16 months old, when she was 3 months old. However since then she’s only interacted with me via electronic interactions. Surprisingly and happily we’ve developed quite a bond; however I’m beginning to believe there is a little wrinkle in our relationship. That wrinkle is that I think my niece believes I’m flat, basically, that I live in the machines.
You see she talks to me on the phone, sees me on the computer and her mom’s I-Pad, she’s even seen me on television. She used to point to the I-Pad and say b-buck, a name she’s adopted for me that no one understands the origins of, but one I’m adapting to even if it does make me Uncle Buck.
She talks to my pictures the same way she talks to me on the phone. The upside of course of all the technology is that those of us who live far from our families can still develop and maintain our relationships. The downside in my case is when little Rooney next sees her Uncle Buck in person, he’s going to be a lot hairier and larger than she’s used to and we all wonder what will happen. Should be a great experiment and I’m sure, a very happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane