Consumed in the iPhone

This ad is powerful, and I’ll tell you why. It shows the conflict between GenX and Millennial generations, particularly surrounding technology. What family doesn’t struggle with this conflict?

Click to watch on YouTube.

This video starts out highlighting the preoccupied teenager with his iPhone. I’ve witnessed this among family and friends, haven’t you? The GenX crowd (that’s me) haste to judge this a disengagement and poor attitude. We think the boy is deep into his friends rather than his family.

You can I can read between the lines. “Would you put that stupid phone away?” was perhaps mumbled several times. We all identify. It almost convinces you to take your kids’ phones away.

Then the truth comes out. The teenager used his phone to create a beautiful video of his most precious family. Tears flow as we witness what this kid was really doing. The technology wasn’t a means to disengage; he was engaging more than anyone knew.

Every parent wrestles with the conflict of technology, smart phones being the big decision of the 2014 world. We think sometimes that the technology is getting in the way of family. Just yesterday, I took away the boys’ iPods when they insisted on sleeping in. We had a heated, “But, Daaa-ad, I need my iPod!” debate. I stood my ground: we had other things to do than engage the outside world.

I suppose smartphones are similar to car keys in my generation: it was a portal to the outside world. They bring opportunities with obstacles, the tool was a resource with risks. Funny, I know parents who restrict their teens from driving until they are 18. I’m not convinced much good comes from that sweeping decision, and I tend to wonder if opportunities were lost.

Wendy and I have smartphones, as do Cynthia and Lydia. The boys (Isaiah, Micah, Noah) have iPods and have apps to communicate through a Wi-Fi connection. The parent in me often blurts out, “Would you put that stupid phone away?”

But the educator in me, more often than not, pauses. These young adults / teenagers are engaging in a whole new world. Yes, there are dangers and junk, but there is a lot of good, too. I’m very proud of who they have chosen as friends, and their technology has helped enhance the community circles they run with. They don’t need to drive somewhere to connect. They remain engaged through their smartphones.

During Christmas, they all had their iPhones and iPods out. They were posting pictures and videos to Google+ and Facebook all day long. Wendy and I were, too. It’s almost like we had dozens, even hundreds, of others joining us for Christmas. If it weren’t for the technology, we would have hoarded it all to ourselves.

I’m not saying I have the divine answer when it comes to the technological conflict between generations. Like any parent, I’m still figuring it out, too. I’m just saying that technology has been a blessing to the Jeub family. Frustrating at times, but mostly good. Like the Apple ad showed, it has actually enhanced our family.

From what I can tell, technology has not hindered the joy in our family.

From what I can tell, technology has not hindered the joy in our family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Shawn

    Right there with you on this one my friend! We *finally* caved to our 12-year old twin daughters’ requests for phones and gave each of them a smart phone for Christmas. We elected to start them out with a more basic approach with TracFones to let them have the responsibility of managing their usage. One thing we really struggled with (and for all of the ‘negative’ reasons you alluded to in your post) was how to establish reasonable rules for when and how they use this technology we have placed in their hands. Things like time limits on calling friends, web browsing, texting, etc. Any thoughts here?

    • Good question…I’m still figuring this out, too. Yesterday’s example: Micah wanted to use his phone to practice a speech he’s competing in. He memorizes audibly, so he wanted to use his phone as an iPod and listen to his speech over and over again. I told him to disable the Internet and listen to the iPod function of his phone only.

      This brings up an interesting conflict. Micah could reasonably cheat and get online, and I probably wouldn’t notice. I told him this, too, sharing that that would be a total violation of trust that would lose his phone for good (notice the subtle warning). Micah responded positively, and I believe he practiced his speech all day long without jumping online.

  • Pamela Church

    There are some other things to consider when using the Smart phones. In this article, you can read about things to be aware of and I am not posting this as a judgement of what others do. I just feel led to share the information with those whom I care about.