Tuesday, May 7, 2013

No Phone - You're So Lucky!

I was eating lunch at home today when my phone gave me an email alert. I was reading a newspaper (GASP! I know! They still exist and I subscribe.) so I was ignoring the alert. My three-year-old son immediately informed me, "Dad, your phone just made a noise!". "Yup I know," I replied, "It was telling me I have an email. What is your phone telling you?"
"Dad, I don't have a phone!"
"Lucky you!"

Mister 'I'm-going-to-be-four-and-all-grown-up-soon' smiled at me with an understanding look well beyond his years and proceeded to tell me all about the quesadilla he was eating.

Now, I love my smartphone. My Galaxy S3 has been a wonderful digital appendage that has nearly replaced my laptop. I use it. Lots. So why did I tell my son he was so lucky? Is that really how I feel about these amazing devices?

I don't feel trapped or tied to the electronics around me. They are my arms, my legs, the tools I use to do the work I love. Using them is as natural to me as breathing and they are extensions of me. I may not be a true digital native but I'm pretty darn close.

I guess I feel that the absence of the omni-present smartphone represents an innocence to me. He's not exposed to the broader world that I see through the portal that is my smartphone; The special tool that reveals the entire world to the beholder. A digital palantir to those who are powerful enough.

One thing I hope to give my kids is innocence. I'm not protecting them from the world; It will come up and beat them over the head eventually no matter what I do. What I can give them are beautiful, wonder-filled childhood days where anything is possible, imagination is the only limitation, and weapons wielded by good-guys turn bad-guys into good-guys. We lose that all too soon. They'll soon have their Galaxy S IX or whatever.