Normally, I would start my journey much earlier. But on this day I simply did not manage to do so. I therefore was not surprised when I found myself stuck in traffic which was at crawling pace, occasionally at stand- still.
People, no doubt on their way to work, bustled along the pavement, some holding dark coloured disposable coffee cups. Others strolled along numerous class windows of crowded cafeterias, diners seated, some tucking into their breakfasts, some waiting to be served, others still reading menus. I remained quietly uneasy as the time ticked away, drawing me closer to my appointment. But then, with no alternative, I continued my snail paced journey and inched my way along commercial buildings and infrequent dwelling houses.
As I drove, my attention was drawn to two little girls, maybe between the ages six and eight years old, who were lugging along the pavement. It was obvious that they were on their way to school, as they were dressed in their school uniforms- black leggings, grey skirts and white polo- neck jumpers.
A woman, with a mobile phone pressed against her ear, walked about three metres ahead of them.
My immediate thought was, ‘How wonderful it would be if alternatively, on the way to school, those two young children were having engaging conversations with their mother, maybe talking about the anticipated school day or anything at all. Instead, the children just walked behind, denied of the opportunity of rich chats and last minute assurances one could give to his or her child/children, just before one drops them off at the school gate- conversations that are invaluable and can hardly ever be forged by anyone else.
But, my concern was compounded when, during returning from my engagement, I spotted the very same woman. The scenario was the unchanged; the mobile phone was against the mother’s ear; the children towing behind her.
One would no doubt tend to understand why for me, this brought into question, the level of parent and child interaction that takes place in this home – very worrying when one considers that we are living at a time when, for reasons I need not mention, interaction with our children is of paramount importance. Equally worrying is the fact that this incident is representative of the far too many children who are advertently or inadvertently neglected by the obsessive uses of mobile phones.
Undoubtedly the mobile phone is one of our great modern day inventions but I believe that one needs to make a conscious effort to have a more balanced approach to the time spent on this time consuming device. This is especially important as verbal face to face conversations are on serious decline among friends, relatives, husbands and wives …young people and while some would dismiss this state of affair by pointing to the dynamics of modern technology, I remain adamant that it is an ideology that continues to undermine and erode cohesive relationships, interactions and interconnections amongst members of contemporary society.
I believe that here must be a balance that one consciously maintains. For, mobile phones become a liability when babies, toddlers, young children… parents find themselves in a place where they compete with this hugely ingenious and engaging device for a face to face conversation.
Enjoy your mobile phone!