But I guess I overstepped. I slipped into overuse, letting the phone obtrude into my family life. I fell into the looking glass. The phone is just so available ... it's easy to overuse.
Would the reaction have been so strong if it wasn't a phone? What if I was reading a book all the time? Because mostly that's what I'm doing on the phone, reading. Maybe I'm that 1950s cliche husband with his face in the newspaper all the time ..."yes dear". I also use the phone for podcasts. I've always been a radio person. I like to listen in the shower, or as I do chores and duties around the house. I never really pay full attention to the outside world when I'm reading or listening to the radio. So maybe it's not the phone. Maybe it's a middle age man thing.
Not that I appreciate my kids plugged into their phones all the time, eyes or ears. It's like they have something better to do and I'm not invited, which of course is normal for teenagers. I don't blame them. But it's galling that they do the better thing to which I'm not invited in my direct sight. For this, I do blame them. The big offense might be the visibility of it. Maybe I need a shed where I can go to fix things and read and listen to the radio.
I tell my kids that too much time on the small screen is unhealthy. The environment of a small screen is necessarily limited compared to the richer stimulus environment of outdoors or real human interaction. Time spent on the small screen is time taken away from the richer stimulus environment of reality. Do they want to be house cats or lions? Budgies? Or Eagles!?
They don't care. The nature metaphor isn't persuading them. They don't know what I'm talking about.
So I'm going to cut back on the phone when I'm at home. And I'm going to force those kids to cut back too.