On my flight home yesterday, the couple sitting in the seats behind mine looked educated, and as the unmistakable product of upward mobility. Their beautiful little boy seemed well taken care of; at least on the outside.
But as soon as they heard instructions to get ready for take off, an iPad came out, and for the remaining of the flight, one could have forgotten that there was a little person sitting just a couple of feet behind; except for the loud noise of explosions, the familiar sounds of destruction, and the rapid changes of scenes coming out of the iPad, that kept that poor toddler's eyes and mind glued to it.
A few days before, I had seen a man sitting at a Starbucks, self-absorbed in his cell phone, as he held an iPad in front of his baby, and a bottle propped against the stroller, to keep it in the baby's mouth.
Unfortunately, these are not rare scenes. You see them everywhere, more and more, and with younger and younger children. The repercussions of which are still far from being pondered, let alone understood by a society eternally pursuing convenience, and willing to pay for the right to emotional detachment from other human beings.
Although the rewards are enormous, being a parent is not an easy task.
I happen to believe that most people set out to have children with the intention of providing them with good lives. Unfortunately, our society doesn't provide much in the way of training and support for such a crucial job.
Under these circumstances, when things between new parents and their toddlers get hard, despair sets in and become willing to buy whatever out here promises to save them from having to deal with emotions. Like iPads and all kinds of new devices that may keep a toddler quiet during an airplane ride, but that eventually sets him up for behavioral challenges later on. Because a newcomer to the world is not going to learn gradual control of emotions and self-regulation from a device that is likely interfering with the natural development of his neural pathways. A process that took nature millions of years to design and perfect.
By the time parents realize-if ever-that by allowing such harmful devices to affect the young mind of their child, they likely will be dealing with bigger issues than the ones they were trying to avoid by keeping their kid mesmerized with an electronic device.