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Getting Smart with Your Smartphones - Part One

February 08, 2018
By Dr. Chaim Botwinick

 Part One:

 Over the past several years, there has been significant discussion and debate regarding the impact of cellphone/smartphone technology and social media on our children and their families.

 In full recognition of this daunting challenge, we at the HEBREW ACADEMY COMMUNITY SCHOOL are now implementing our new Digital Citizenship Curriculum, created and developed by Dr. Eli Shapiro and Mrs. Temima Feldman. But, we need you, the parent, to be our partners.

 As technology and its impact on the social, psychological and behavioral functioning of our youngsters grows, continued education for both students and parent in digital citizenship is critical.

 Never before in the history of modern technology (except perhaps television) has technology impacted us to the extent it is today. Instant communication, millisecond response rates, and freedom of "information flow" have truly revolutionized the manner in which we think, react and communicate. But, it has also unintentionally robbed us from quality precious time and attention to our children and family.

 As parents, how often do we "disconnect" our own smartphones; while we are supposedly helping our children with homework, during dinner, play time, on vacation, or even on the way to minyan (while driving, no less), or even during davening itself?

 Our children are very smart and truly perceptive. By refusing to disconnect our cellphones during these teachable quality moments, we as parents are in fact informing our children that they are less of a priority than answering the phone, making a call, texting a business associate or checking emails. It consciously and subconsciously creates a value system. Hence, we are creating a future generation who will be disconnected from the beauty and wonderment of quality time as well as familial interaction. Beware, there is no turning back the clock

 Maybe we have not yet paid the full price for this trade off, but, it’s almost guaranteed that a price is being paid! A moment lost with a child, at the expense of checking an email, is a price not worth taking.

 So, parents, please put down your cell phones. Look up at the precious innocent angelic faces of your children who are begging for your complete attention.  It’s a trade-off worth a lifetime.

 See you at my next BLOG (Part Two)

Dovid Levi says:
February 08, 2018 11:15 AM CST
Thank you Dr. Botwinick for taking the time to write this. After being a smartphone user since 2003 it took me almost 11 years to realize the negative impact that smartphone usage/addiction has on basic social interactions and on raising my children. Over the past 4 years my wife and I have made a lot of changes in how we use technology and the benefits we've experienced are clear and measurable. Unfortunately, coming to terms with ones dependency on smartphones and also the false impression that they are "essential" is a massive stumbling block to making any progress in this area. I am impressed that HACS is taking a proactive approach this issue and I look forward to learning more about how me and my children can have a healthier relationship with technology. Yesher Koach!

Miriam spiegel says:
February 08, 2018 07:08 PM CST
Beautifully said!!! Totally agree!