Glennon Doyle explains why she and her wife hold on to all the phones when their kids have friends over
Kids and smartphones. The combination sure makes for a touchy subject among parents and tends to set off debate, as the choice to let a child have a phone is a very personal one. Regardless, it is a choice, and if a parent would rather smartphones and kids not be a thing in their home, that’s their right. It’s also kind of an awesome idea to have kids go phone-free now and then, as author Glennon Doyle points out in a brilliant Instagram post.
“I love my kids’ friends so much that I want them to talk to each other at our house,” Dolye writes. “So Abby and I have them check their phones at the door.”
“Which we can do cause we’re the bosses of this house,” she continues. “They all act exasperated but seem interestingly relieved. Then, after a minute, they look at each other. And talk. And dance and laugh and stuff. And they remember that they are with their friends so there is no need to be anywhere else.”
She’s pretty spot-on. Phones can cause kids (and adults) to feel a bit…tethered. I know once I have good reason to ignore mine for several hours, I feel that same sense of relief that Doyle mentions. It would stand to reason that kids and teens might feel it too, right?
Doyle only mentions one reason for hanging on to everyone’s phones when her kids have friends over. Obviously, some parents have other concerns in mind when they decide to keep phones out of the equation when hosting a kid get-together. My daughter is 11 and doesn’t have a phone yet — because it’s my belief that she personally isn’t ready for that responsibility. I hold zero judgment for the parents of her peers that allow it, but I also don’t let those kids have their phones unsupervised at my house. They’re kept in a central place and they know they’re allowed to text a parent, check an app, or make a phone call any time they want as long as I’m around. No one ever complains.
That’s all aside from the fact that studies have discovered that smartphones can make kids and teens anxious and depressed. And I don’t need science to tell me that when I hold the phones, my daughter and her friends bake cookies, play in the snow, do The Greatest Showman karaoke, and draw their own comics while taking a break from selfies and sending texts. Not that there’s anything wrong with selfies and texts, but they’re 11. Playing together is a good way to spend time with friends when you’re 11.
I’m an adult and fully aware that I spend too much time staring at a screen instead of interacting with my fellow humans face-to-face. I’m very good with making sure that my kids, while they’re still kids, have the chance to bond with each other instead of answering the beeps and blips of various apps. Each parent can do whatever they feel is right, and Doyle’s method is just one way of handling this modern parenting conundrum.
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