20 Days of Chill 2020 - Battle of the Phones

Photo by Richard Pennystan on Unsplash

Welcome back to 20 Days of Chill. Today's prompt is 

Battle of the Phones

I guess the idea of this prompt is to discuss whether the fact that iPhones are better than other phones. 

Now that was a short post. 

Have a wonderful day, see you tomorrow!

Let me rant about kids and mobile phones instead.

Needless to say I grew up without computers, let alone mobile phones. There are all these memes and videos about rotary phones, and how millennials don't even know how to use them, that crack me up.

My 11 yo son, however, has been using iPhones, iPads and Notebooks since he was a baby. He scrolls, he swipes, he taps, and he has shown me features I had no idea they existed.

If not given a limit, he'd probably find cool stuff to do on an electronic device all day long.

Not gonna happen.

Photo by Christopher Ryan on Unsplash

I'm pretty sure these toddlers sitting in their strollers or restaurant highchairs, playing with fidgeting, flashing and twitching elements for hours, are missing out on important development opportunities. 
It's not their fault, of course. These apps are attractive and addictive, and who knows better about it than their parents who are glued to their devices themselves - and don't want to be interrupted.

I always made sure Colin also knew how to keep himself busy off-screen, though. He reads books, he draws, he plays hockey, he hangs out with his friends.

His friends, however, one after the other, got their first phones, and recently it has come to the following:

After school they'll text each other on when and where to meet later. Typically they'll go to school yard with their kick-boards and bicycles. They'll play soccer for a short while, then they will get thirsty and drive to the village grocery store where they'll purchase soda, chips and candy. That's a whole nother story, but let's move on.

Outside the store there's a bench where they'll sit and consume their treats. While doing so, the phone owners will pull out their gadgets and start to play mindless stuff. 

Everyone but Colin.

He told me about it - totally off-topic, though. He knows better than to whine "all the others are allowed, but me..."

It still made me feel a bit guilty. I used to be the kid who had the strictest parents Dad. Back then it wasn't about phones of course, it was about curfew. I was always the one who had to leave before everybody else did, and I hated it. 

"So what did you do?" I asked.

He smiled. "I got myself one of these free kids' magazines at the checkout, and I was reading it."

That made me happy and proud, and I told him so.

Just to be clear, I am not against screen time. He gets tons of it - at home. Being an only child there's no sibling around to play with, so he probably gets more iPad time than he would otherwise.

Last fall, I allowed him to bring my old iPad on vacation so he could take pictures and send them to his friends back home. He loved it:

I later found loads of blurry pictures in my feed...

On the upside, he's learning tons of stuff online! 

Starting with the English language, which I consider a huge benefit. For you North American readers this may not be a biggie, but in Switzerland, English is a foreign language, and I consider every exposure a benefit, especially as young brains are so spongy and eager to absorb. So as longs as he's following English speaking YouTubers who aren't silly and dumb, I'm fine. 

Sports highlights, results and statistics. Not that this is beneficial for school, but he's passionate about it, and we canceled the newspaper in favor of online news and to save a tree or two, so I'm OK with it. Colin also plays sports games. He's a soccer manager and decides on player transfers, training, line-up, etc.

Science. He likes to watch shows that cover geography, chemistry, physics and the like. 

Minecraft: he's using the creative mode where he's building houses, taking care of animals and mining commodities. 

Snapchat: while I am not using it myself, I like that it's a tool for him to keep in touch with his school and hockey mates, and more importantly, reconnect with kids with whom he was at daycare years ago and friends who moved away.

As he's about to start high school this summer, things may change. Obviously there are apps that teachers use to publish assignments. I wouldn't mind being able to reach him if I'm running late to pick him up or to ask him to stop at the store and bring some milk ;-) 

We'll see.

I'll be sure to enforce some rules, though. Like "you lose it / break it, it's gone" and "no bullying / sending of adult content". 

And especially not to become that antisocial person. It bugs me so much when people forget about basic offline decency. 
  • Like being on time for an appointment. "But I texted you I was gonna me late" is just lame. 
  • Or not to be talking on the phone while at the supermarket checkout or post office counter - your counterpart is at work, give them a little respect, greet them and look them in the eyes. Surely your phone call ain't that important!
  • No gadgets at the table - have a conversation with the people you share your meal with! They may be nice folks!
  • Basically behave as if your battery died and / or there was no wifi.

Of course us adults have to be responsible role models!

What might be a good reason for you (not) to give your pre-teen kid a phone?

Let me know in the comments below. Hope you'll be back for 6 more days of chill! In the meantime why don't you visit my fellow bloggers' posts over here.

Thursday, January 2: A new decade
Friday, January 3: Beautiful places
Monday, January 6: Is that chicken?
Tuesday, January 7: Show me the way
Wednesday, January 8: Naps
Thursday, January 9: Snow
Friday, January 10: Fri-Yay
Monday, January 13: Social Media
Tuesday, January 14: Cheddar
Wednesday, January 15: Dream on
Thursday, January 16: Popcorn
Friday, January 17: Snapshot
Monday, January 20: Last Meal
Tuesday, January 21: Battle of the Phones
Wednesday, January 22: Sign it in ink
Thursday, January 23: Spam
Friday, January 24: May I take your order?
Monday, January 27: A cocktail, if you will
Tuesday, January 28: Bring me to you
Wednesday, January 29: Oh, thank goodness!


  1. My youngest grand daughter is 3 1/2 and she is a whiz at using a phone or tablet but as a 3 year old I feel she needs more time away from the screen My 9 yo grand daughter has an iPhone. I do not agree with it, but I'm not raising her. I know kids today are more tech savvy than I am and in an ever growing increase of dependency on tech items, they need to be.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  2. It absolutely blows my mind how good kids are at technology. I've learned a thing or two from the younger generation. It's also good you have him doing a bit of both. Some of the best times of my childhood were just going out and exploring the world around me.


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