I spent a week at a resort in Cancun and observed how electronic devices influence family time.
I get up early one morning to go to the fitness room. A young mother is taking her baby for a walk. Her tiny girl is cuddled up on her mother’s chest. The infant is looking up at her mother’s face and making all kinds of noises. She sounds like she’s trying to have a real conversation. The mother isn’t even looking at her baby. She’s on her phone checking her text messages.
I see a family of three at a table near mine having dinner together. The son looks to be about eight and is watching a movie on a laptop computer and listening to the sound with a set of large blue earphones. His parents are talking to each other and eating their dinner while the son ignores the food on his plate in favor of the action on the screen.
I see a mother and her daughter a half-dozen times. The daughter always stands or sits silently beside her mother who is busy receiving and sending messages on her phone. One night I see them in the resort lounge. The young girl looks tired and has her head on her Mom’s shoulder nestling her blonde head under her Mom’s ear. The Mom doesn’t touch her daughter at all. Both her hands are busy texting and her eyes are focused on her phone.
I see a woman shopping in the resort jewelry store. Her one-year-old is sitting up in her stroller. An I-Pad showing a movie is propped up beside the little girl. Her eyes are glued to the screen and she doesn’t bother her mother at all, leaving the woman free to shop to her heart’s content.
I see a father on the beach with his two sons. The boys run in and out of the water splashing each other and diving into the waves. The boys talk together, collect shells, build a sandcastle, read books, order drinks, and eat snacks. The whole time the father is on the phone while his sons enjoy the Mexican sunshine on their own.