Do mobile phones steal our quality time?

I read an article in Aftenposten with great interest about how parents´ mobile phone activity supposedly is leading to children feeling negleted. I agreed at first nodding my way through the article – although I don´t have any kids on my own. But then I read jill/txt´s very interesting piece on the topic, and I thought, yes, she is right, it is a very useful way of passing time while you´re not really doing much else but waiting, and people have been reading their papers alongside having cared for children for years.

My own reference for this is actually my dog. I most mornings find myself reading the news and catching up on Facebook and email as I take my morning walk with him and my phone. I also tend to sometimes switch between looking at my phone and playing with him, when I sit on the floor to throw his teddy bear for him to run and get over and over. He gets the same physical activity from me, but I have found that he can tell the he doesn´t have my full attention in between, and he reacts to it with his frustration strategy (witch is humping my arm or leg, depending which is the right height).

So I will try and not do it all the time – the phone multi-tasking. I think it makes a difference, both to me and my dog. I don´t think it is the exact same thing as reading the paper, because the paper is static when you have it in your hand. Your phone keeps changing, updating, and there´s always the possibility of interacting and being responded to. It is a different pace. A pace it is probably healthy to have a few short breaks from every day, say for instance while walking the dog. The presence, the experience, the mind wandering. It´s wont be the same when you have your eyes pinned to your phone. Even my dog can tell.

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