Friday, September 17, 2010

Technological Polygamy

My husband is a polygamist.   Maisy, Elana, and I may be his first family, but his second, and more extensive family, consists of his friends, work mates, and his other wife- The Blackberry.  Your spouse may be living this double life too.  Here are the warning signs: are conversations constantly interrupted by old school ring tones and text messages.  Does he sleep with the phone next to his head, ready to answer a message in 1/2 second flat?  Has he started calling his phone nicknames like "sweetheart" or "my Precious"?
I don't have a second family, not quite.  You could say that my relationship with the iPhone is more like an affair with a sexy boyfriend.  I don't spend hours texting friends, but I do check Facebook a bit too often, and I flirt with my and Entertainment Weekly apps.

A recent study by Novarra, a mobile service provider, found that parents spend more time on their smartphones than business professionals.  In fact, the only group that spends more time using their smartphones are what they call "Mobile Millennials", which are technologically savvy young adults with disposable income.

This isn't too much of a surprise to me.  Haven't parents always been the original multitaskers?  When Maisy was born, I could walk down the street breastfeeding her in a sling while pulling Elana out of the line of moving traffic.  In the 1800s women used to give birth to their babies in barns and during a session of milking cows.  In the 1950s women would iron the laundry, make a casserole, diaper the baby, all while smoking a Lucky Strike.  Now, instead of multitasking with hard labor chores, we are multitasking with Twitter and Angry Birds.

While looking through the new apps at the Apple App Store, I was thrilled to see a new invention that is sure to make my life so much more fulfilling- the Type n' Walk.  I no longer need to stop to type my messages, I can do it while walking!  I see many uses for this application.  Why not the Type n' Talk (you can look someone in the eyes while texting), or the Type n' Drive (you can shuffle the kids to soccer practice and update your status at the same time), or even the Talk n' Sex!

I will admit that all this technological advances are causing strains on our relationships.  We are spending less and less quality time with our friends and family.  Ted and I could spend an entire date night without actually speaking.  Can I have half of your heirloom tomato salad? he texts me.  Only if I can have the last of the pasta, I text back. 

More and more couples are citing the overuse of Blackberries and Facebook as the reasons for divorce.  It is even reaching the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia has already had two smartphone related divorces.  It basically boils down to math- the more time we spend on the phones the less time we have to spend with each other, doing marital things like talking and sex.  Maybe more married couples should start sexting each other?

My concern about smartphones goes beyond the half-ass parenting it promotes.  What about all the radiation?  Both Ted and I sleep with our phones charging on the bedside table next to our heads.  Are we far enough away for the radiation to dissipate, or is it slowly leaking in through our skulls and causing brain cancer?  One of our friends always places his Blackberry in his right pocket.  That way, when we gets testicular cancer, it will only effect his right one.

And what about the kids?  At a tender age of 10 months Maisy knew how to use my iPhone to play The Itsy Bitsy Spider and flip through the photos stored in the phone.  Are we just setting up this new generation to be completely addicted to their phone? Will she never be able to hold a conversation without the constant need to check her phone?  Will she develop a third ear due to the radiation exposure?  Or worse, will she have a bluetooth headset permanently installed in her right ear?  The possibilities are endless.


  1. dam it's so true! Maybe my next experiment will be to get rid of my phone!

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