Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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A Threat to American Families

I'm here today to tackle a serious issue, even knowing that some of you aren't going to like what I have to say.  But I can no longer stand idly by and watch as families everywhere fall victim to this latest threat to the fabric of our society.  It's in our homes, and slowly we become addicted; it's difficult to recognize at first, but it's high time someone shone the light of truth on this insidious menace.

I'm speaking, of course, about your iPhone.  Or iPad.  Or Android.  Or Blackberry.  Or whichever petri dish it is that you make your phone calls on.

What I'm referring to there is my first point, which is the obvious issue of germs.  Germs, germs, germs.  According to Dr. Roshini Raj of Health Magazine, as seen on the Today Show and then reported by TechSpot (I like all my data to be at least three times removed from the source), your smartphone screen is probably infected with 500 times more bacteria than a toilet seat - that's right, 500 times, they say.  This means your phone could be almost  as filthy as your child's hands after they play a couple video games at Chuck-E-Cheese, right before they come bounding over to give you a big hug and dig into some pizza.

I take it as a very bad sign that, when you search Google Images with the keywords "toilet germ test" in hopes of finding a picture of some poor guy swabbing a toilet seat for bacteria so you can make a joke about how much he hates working for the Today Show, the picture that comes up instead is this:

Coincidence?  I think not.

Issue two is the concern over time-suckage.  Although Steve Jobs appears to have been able to do pretty much anything, unfortunately his untimely demise occurred before he was able to invent extra hours in the day.  I'm a list lover, and before I got my iPhone I already had about 842 lists floating around the house detailing things I needed to get done.  Now, with my handy new gadget, all my lists are neatly organized; however, this same handy new gadget has completely inhabited any waking moment I might have otherwise used to actually complete one of the tasks on my to-do lists.  I now have constant access to Pinterest, so I can browse the interwebs nonstop for MORE things I want to make/see/do - naturally, these projects will all just get added to the lists, because instead of actually doing  them I'll be playing Fruit Ninja or something equally productive.

Which leads us to the third problem, which is that these smartphones are just too awesome, and that awesomeness is way too accessible.  I shouldn't be able to Google anything, any time, just because the whim pops into my head - some things should be left for you to wonder about.  I can't be trusted with that kind of technology, anyway; first of all, if I weren't always on my iPhone I would probably never have seen this:

which now I'll never be able to un-see, including the little goat she has on her lap.  Secondly, things like that showing up on my phone lead me to ponder unpleasant subjects, such as the fact that if I were to die suddenly, my loved ones would undoubtedly have some serious questions about me when they discovered my bizarre browsing history.  There's no way they could know that there were perfectly logical and sane reasons for me to search for squirrel nests, donuts, how the Bible got its name, string theory, how often kids should bathe, boiling cold water, and toilet germ test, all within the span of an hour.

It's because we use our phones all the time, just because they're there - these days people get antsy if they can't check their cell for new emails while they wait three seconds for their TiVo to fast-forward through some commercials.  In the old days, commercial breaks were Family Time, used to acknowledge our children and ask them to describe how their day was in two minutes or less.  Not anymore - now we have no idea how our kids are doing unless they post it on Facebook.  It's taking our attention away from other important things, too - driving, work, the international debt crisis - I know someone who almost burned dinner not too long ago because he was so absorbed with playing Angry Birds.

(Sorry honey, I hated to call you out like that, but that's what you get for using my phone while I'm asleep to check out which new games I've downloaded and then beat all my high scores.)

See how it's tearing us apart?  And I don't know that I can stop myself, despite the fact that I'm infecting my children with the addiction.  Zoe's becoming a game junkie...

...and even Maddie is a little too excited about listening to music on iTunes.

I, for one, am going to do my part to break the cycle.  First things first, I'm going to use my phone to Google "ways to use your iPhone less."  Then I'll check out the Apple Store online - I bet they have an app for that.

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The Third Partier said...

I don't remember using your phone. It was probably an iPhone fatigue induced hallucination on your part.

Marian said...

Yes to all of this. I spent the last two days getting made fun of because my phone was in my face all day. Am I actually expected to interact with my family? Isn't that what I do all day when I'm working? That doesn't sound like a "vacation" to me.

RobynHTV said...

Excellent point - anyone who has to interact with family more than, I'd say, 20-30 minutes per day on a regular basis, should be allowed to get their phone temporarily tattooed to the bridge of their nose during vacation if they want.

JoAnna said...

PErfect example of why I have to hold out getting a smartphone until I am the last person on earth without one. I have a dumbphone that can text and I have to just keep it at that or I'll never been focus on a single thing ever again.

RobynHTV said...

Ha! Sometimes I really hate mine, and my inability to just ignore the stupid thing, and I think I'd be better off without it. But then I quickly swoop it up, cooing apologies and petting it lovingly, and check my email. ;)

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