The Dangerous Consequences of Being a Mom With an iPhone

toddler playing with iphoneI just read another one of those funny-but-painful stories about toddler destruction. Meredith Franco Meyers tells about the time she let her 2-year-old play with her iPhone so she could have a few seconds to herself to brush her teeth. Guess what happened next? Yup. "It got quiet in the bathroom. And then ... Plop. Splash. 'Mommy, oh no! Wow!'" The iPhone took a dive into the toilet

Did Meredith deserve to lose her iPhone for letting her daughter play with it? And do toddlers have any business playing with electronics like smartphones in the first place? I think the answer to that second question depends a lot on what kind of smartphone user YOU are. 

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Meredith writes about having conversations with other moms who think toddler-aged children should not be exposed to electronics at all. Those conversations sound awfully familiar! In my community many parents tend to see electronic media as the Devil's playground -- for kids, anyway. They'd sooner hand over a rattlesnake to a toddler than an iPhone. Pediatricians recommend no screen time for kids under 2, and for many parents, that includes iPhones, iPods, and any other iEntertain gadgets. 

But what if your toddler sees YOU on those gadgets all the time? Educators say one of the best ways to instill a love of reading in your kids is to let them see you reading all the time. During those first few years, parents are a kids' biggest influence. But I think that goes for electronics, too. If I want my child to learn to limit his electronics use, he needs to see me limit myself, too. And what 2-year-old can stand seeing their parents play with a toy they can never use?

Personally, I think parents who sometimes let their toddlers play with their smartphone are fine -- and I think parents who forbid that are also fine. Either way, your kid is probably going to be okay. But what matters more, I think, is that kids see some consistency in values. So if you think iPhone time is harmful for a toddler, you may want to pull back a bit on the texting and Tweeting yourself. And if you love your iPhone like your BFF, hey, no big deal -- just give yourself a break on forbidding gadgets for your kids. Except when they're near a toilet, of course.

Do you let your kids play with your smartphone? 

 

Image via jessgrrr/Flickr

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