I read an opinion piece in today's Washington Examiner. The title of the piece is "The touchscreen revolution tilts the playing field to the elites." Misleading, right? If I were to just read the title alone, I would think the article is going to talk about how people of monetary privilege have an advantage over less privileged and lower income people when it comes to having access to the world of tablets and smartphones. Wrong. The article proceeds to make the claim that the working class and poor are on screens more than the wealthy. This was the exact quote, "As more screens appear in the lives of the poor, screens are disappearing from the lives of the rich. The richer you are, the more you spend to be offscreen." Okay, while there may be an element of truth to the fact that wealthy folks have the means to pay for experiences, travel, specialty programs for their children, club sports, etc., this might be one of the most outrageous claims I've heard yet. The author decides to attack the Silicon Valley innovators who bring this technology to us yet "go to great lengths" to limit their children's screen time. "Go to great lengths" stands out in blue font so you can click on it, only for it to take you to an article titled "Silicon Valley Nannies are Phone Police For Kids." OUTRAGED! Last I checked, I am a working class, non-elite, start up entrepreneur, married to a police officer. In case you haven't looked into this fun fact, police officers make very little income. Yet, somehow we manage to create a screen free environment for our children. We don't have a nanny, but we have had babysitters and we also prefer our babysitters interact with our children through board games, card games, and shooting hoops in the back yard. Hmmm, not too dissimilar from the Silicon Valley families who prefer their nannies do those same things with their children. I have two children that take the tabs off of soda cans and turn them into characters, because they use their imagination. I let them be BORED and allow them to figure out something constructive to do. Let's look at the inner city housing projects. I see children as young as two and as old as twenty two years old out on the recreational basketball court, or jumping rope, or playing on a playground. Before anyone accuses me of being racist, I have seen White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian people who inhabit the inner city housing projects. Furthermore, my father grew up in the Pruitt-Igoe, Clinton-Peabody, and Blumeyer Housing Projects in St. Louis City. He was a white man. My point is, they aren't on screens. They are outside playing in a screen free environment. They have access to other forms of entertainment. This isn't about race and quite frankly, this technology crisis we are in isn't about class either.
Smartphones and tablets aren't cheap. Tablets and iPads range from $300-$1000 new, and smartphones range from $100-$800 new. How are the working class and poor affording these devices? I know many wealthy people and I know many lower income families. Guess what, they ALL have devices people! This opinion piece has it all wrong. It's an attempt to place blame on money verses parenting. How about this? Were women widowed during the Vietnam war? Were women left to raise 3, 5, 8 children with no husband? Did they then have to work more jobs, bring in more income as a sole provider for the family? Where were their tablets and smartphones to help them out? This opinion piece is a desperate attempt to point the finger at the wrong thing, create smoke and mirrors and absolve us of our parenting obligations. Absolutely ridiculous.