Code for “Mom, I’m more important than your phone.”


I have an iPhone. It is mostly a very good and useful thing. Overall, our family has good boundaries with screens of all kinds. But sometimes, my phone will latch itself onto my eyes and brain and unsuspectingly absorb them entirely into its magical screen to the detriment of the actual humans around me who covet my attention, and to whom I very much want to remain present.

I suspect that I am not alone among you, my dear readers.

So I’m trying an experiment as a guard against the eye-and-brain-sucking.

I told my 6-year-old that if he was ever trying to talk to me or if he ever needed me for something – even if it wasn’t an emergency – and I was zombied into my phone, that I want him to come up to me, put his hand on me and say,

“I need you.”

I told him that that will be our code for, “Mom, I’m more important than your phone,” because he is! and because I want him to know that he is and because anything I’m doing on my phone is always dumber than whyever he needs me. He thought it was funny that I said my phone was dumb.

I love that my kids get to see that sometimes I accidentally love screens too much, too, just like them. And I love that in this they get to partner with me to put screens in their proper place in our household — well below the humans.

If you try this experiment, too, or if you have other little practices you do regarding phones vs humans, please comment!