Is Giving Your Kid A Phone Really That Awful?

Is Giving Your Kid A Phone Really That Awful?

You can’t bring a kid into to an ever increasing technological society and deprive them of technology.
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I was listening to the radio the other night – yes radios stations still exist – and the host was discussing the topic of giving your children access to tablets, phones, computers, etc. He opened up this question to his viewers and I was expecting at least a few people to say it was okay; instead, every single parent that called in spoke as if the internet was a gateway drug.

Listen, you have never felt true bliss until you hand your kid a tablet, sit them on the couch next to you, and switch the television over from Nick Jr to something a little more “adult”. Like a hockey game so you can watch your team lose for the fourth time in a week, but that’s a much angrier article for another week.

Do you know how long it’s been since I got to watch something on television – before midnight – that wasn’t asking me to do math or which shapes fit in which hole?

Too damn long.

I mean I get it. Parents want their kids to socialize and be active and contribute to society or whatever. And that’s great, really. Kids need to interact with other kids and they need to stay active; I’m not protesting against those ideas. I’m just saying that it’s possible for your kids to have it all.

When Dylan, my daughter, starts elementary school I expect her to be working with technology immediately. It’s the world we live in. Your kids are without a doubt going to interact with the internet at school. So, if they’ve never played with a tablet before they’re going to be behind before they even make it through the door.

You can’t bring a kid into to an ever-increasing technological society and deprive them of technology. Dylan spends a lot of time on my phone. I use this time to clean, complete coursework, or just breathe for three seconds, because children take a lot out of you.

This doesn’t mean she’s always on my phone; she’d much rather go outside than stare at a screen for an hour. Like last night when she stared longingly out into the night and asked: “mama can we go see the moon”? And I had to tell her “no Dylan it’s ridiculously cold outside and your allergies are terrible.”

She has a good balance of being familiar with technology but understanding other things are more important – unless her father’s calling and she’s watching Elmo, then her priorities get a little muddled.

And Dylan’s like a baby genius with the phone. She knows where YouTube is, knows how to pause and play videos, and how to clear my notifications off the screen. She’s basically an Apple maestro. I don’t mind it, because she sees how much time her father and I dedicate to our phones and so playing with one seems like the norm.

Her father and I could police how much time each of us is spending on our phones but seeing as how I’ve got friends hours away from me, a mother who loves to tag me on Facebook posts, and I just enjoy being connected; I don’t see that happening.

So Dylan’s going to have a tablet, but she’s also going to play outside, and she’s also going to shove Peppa Pig and Doc McStuffins figurines in my face and make me play pretend for an hour. She’s a cultured kid. As long as it doesn’t become too much I really don’t see the harm in letting my daughter have her ‘internet’ time. It keeps us both happy.

Cover Image Credit: Jelleke Vanooteghem

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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A Letter To the Lady Who "took" my dog

Everyone knows how it feels to lose a pet in one way or another.

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The most I remember feeling is angry. I was confused, upset, but most of all just furious. I was hurt by my parents, frustrated with my friend's lack of help—though there was considerable attempt--, and saddened by the fact that I was likely to lose my year-old Australian Shepherd, Terra Blu.

My family had gotten Terra almost a year after our previous Aussie, Kaiya, died at the age of four from an infectious disease the veterinarians were unable to catch swiftly enough. Kaiya's sudden death shook me terribly. I'd begged for a dog since I had been little, and it seemed cruel to have her removed from my world so painfully and randomly. I did what most typically do after a family member dies; cry, mope, and swear to never want another like her. My resolve to never own another dog faded after two weeks in the house without her.

As most long-term pet owners know, the house takes on a different mood when a fuzzy companion leaves the world. The windows look plain without wet nose splotches staining them, the dog bed next to the door is only a painful reminder, and the red-rimmed eyes and despondency of others don't improve relations. After so much raw emotion followed by lack of feeling at all by the entire household, I was convinced that another dog would be the cure to our predicament—only I wanted Kaiya, but I figured another would have to do.

Flash forward to slightly less than a year later; it would be early spring. I hear the door open and look to see my father walking in with a dog bed. Kaiya's bed I'd assumed; I would realize later it was a new dog bed. I immediately stood and said in an accusing tone, "What do you think you are doing with that?"

He only held out one hand and said, "Don't scream." That cued my mother to walk in behind him holding an eight-week-old Aussie she called KyLor Blu. I didn't scream. Instead I covered my eyes, beginning to cry, and stumbled into the living room, hiding from a baby ball of fur. I didn't want to see her, touch her, or be near her for about two minutes. Then I was all over her. I knew instantly that she would never be like Kaiya, but she could become a part of our family.

The year spent with the new puppy had a lot of changes. The first being my insistence on changing the name to Terra Blu, because, no we cannot call KyLor Ky like we called Kaiya Kai. Having a puppy was fun but she did all the things puppies do, from eating my favorite pair of heels to peeing on my lap. Regardless, even after destroying yet another bra of mine, she managed to work her way into my and my family's hearts and continued to do so even after she ate the last aglet off of our shoes.

She was smart. She didn't have as strong as a willingness to please as Kaiya did—I could never stop creating comparisons--, but she wanted to learn when it suited her. I'd built her an obstacle course from farm parts lying around, she could catch the frisbee in air, and also managed to miraculously catch a few birds from on the ground. But a year goes fast when it's senior year of high school and soon I was off to college, leaving my dog behind.

At college, changes were occurring at home that I was left out of. From my cat dying, the rabbit being put down, and the chickens being sold all at the looming prospect of the divorce of my parents. Spoiler alert, they didn't divorce. But in that time, they did give away my dog.

I was the one who suggested that we find another home for Terra. She was obviously stressed when I'd been home for Christmas break. I could see her discomfort as she felt the dissatisfaction between my parent's relationship. Of course, I suggested it planning to give her to one of my friends. I had multiple who had shown interest in such a sweet dog (one that was finally out of the worst of the puppy stage). In the end, none of the homes worked out. But it was alright, because apparently my family had found a good home and I would get to spend one last week with her over spring break, right?

What actually happened was, due to an untimely death and a series of unfortunate events, Terra was rehomed early and I was given the choice to asked for her back for a week or let her stay in her new home, as she was already well adjusted. It's difficult to do what's best when it hurts, but I asked for her to stay with her new home, a kind couple in their 50's. I did end up being a little selfish and asked to visit her.

This brings me to the real point of this letter. Thank you.

To the kind couple who let me come see their property and my, now your, dog. Terra has been blessed with owners who have more time for her and who gladly walk her once, sometimes twice, a day. She's been blessed with a less stressful household and owners that have time, and make time, for her. I know there has been a hole in your heart left by a previous pawprint and I'm happy she can do for you what she did for me.

Thank you for sending me a picture when I ask, for letting me join you on your walks when I am able, and for sharing her time with me. It's not easy. I'm sorry I cry when I see her bounding towards me, wagging her whole butt to make up for her lack of tail and I'm sorry she lingers at my car door, waiting to be let in when I leave.

But I also see how she's not sad or scared from the fighting. I see how she only cares about figuring out how to be friends with the geese sitting at your pond. And I see how she doesn't say goodbye after our walks, instead running to find your husband to say hello. So, one last time, thank you for doing what my family could not.

Cover Image Credit:

Dawn Lunde Pearson

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