A Smartphone Raised My Baby


What’s new in the world of parenting?

One-third of the parents of 3- and 4-year-olds said their children liked to use more than one device at the same time, noted Dr. Hilda Kabali, a pediatrician and the lead author of [a survey on the exposure and use of mobile media devices by young children.] Seventy percent of the parents reported allowing their children, ages 6 months to 4 years old, to play with mobile devices while the parents did housework, and 65 percent said they had done so to placate a child in public. A quarter of the parents said they left children with devices at bedtime, although bright screens disrupt sleep… According to the parents, nearly half of the children younger than 1 used a mobile device daily to play games, watch videos or use apps. Most 2-year-olds used a tablet or smartphone daily.

Who knows what this all could mean? You will no doubt see efforts to discredit the study because of its small size, and there will also be the routine attempts to dismiss its concerns as overblown tech panic. That is, I suppose, fair enough. But please do not fall for the usual claims that this is just as meaningless as the worries that a generation of parents were using television as a babysitter, because you know what? The first generation of children who were babysat by television were the Boomers, and they are indisputably America’s most selfish and terrible cohort. They broke the country beyond repair and are still sucking out the last bits of blood on their way out the door. They fucked everything up, stuck us with their awful music, commodified nostalgia to an extent that is still almost incomprehensible, valorized avarice and self-regard to the point where they are now aspirational attributes, and won’t even die without draining whatever tiny shreds of hope and dignity remain to the nation, all the while wondering what we’re so upset about because everything seems fine to them. Can a generation of children who were denied human contact so that their parents could be left alone to play on their own phones and tablets be any worse? (Maybe, but what does it matter? Everything’s falling to shit anyway and the best these kids can hope for is that the robots eat them before they burn up in the terrible fires they will all be running from soon enough. Have you talked to the average parent lately? Children are better off being raised by Pew Die Pie.) What difference does it make, really, is what I’m saying. There’s nothing but terror ahead. Let the toddlers have their phones.

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