Small Children and Smart Phones

Small Children and Smart Phones

A few days ago I watched a child, about six, reach into her little purse, pull out an iPhone, and sit on a store child-and-phoneshelf where she started playing Angry Birds.

For a long time, I’ve been appalled by the number of small children who have ridiculously expensive phones they use more as toys than as communication devices. When a child is given a phone to keep in touch with parents, that’s a good thing. Add texting and that can be okay, but does a child really need any more than that?

A friend explained to me why parents get smart phones for their kids. First, the price might be good. Second, they used to get hand-held electronic games for their kids, so a smart phone is the same, just better.

I’d say it’s more than better.

As I watched the child playing Angry Birds, it was obvious it wasn’t the first time she played the game. I imagine that smart phone is pretty much her entire world. However, I could have the whole thing wrong. I’m  not the child’s parents. Maybe it isn’t her phone. Maybe either mom or dad lends her the phone in situations such as shopping where she is likely to get bored. I’d rather have a child playing with my phone than screaming because shopping when you can’t buy anything is boring.

I’m hoping that’s the case. That when they get home rather than tell her to play with her phone, they send her outside to play or show her the new book they just got for her and invite her to page through it (a child doesn’t need to be able to read in order to enjoy a book).

Better to have her exploring the world through books and becoming an avid reader which can help lead her in all sorts of directions and into a world of careers. I realize there are a number of skills that can be developed (eye-hand coordination, maybe problem solving, a competitive nature to list just three), but the careers that do not require an ability to read are not the kind of jobs most people expect their child to want.

It seems to me it would be much more valuable to raise a child who wanted to read before playing with any kind of electronic game. If it’s a choice between a smart phone and a book, I’ll be giving my granddaughter a book… lots of them.

Related Article:

Allowing Children To Be Immersive Readers Can Create Causal Knowledge, 7 Speed Reading Developers Reveal.

Gravestone Epithets and Epitaphs

Gravestone Epithets and Epitaphs

Funny GravestoneI look in many places for inspiration and save all sorts of interesting and odd things that I look at every now and then when I need to motivate my muse. I don’t know where I found this. I have a bad habit of finding things on the Internet and saving them, but not adding a citation so I’ll know where it came from if I ever decide to use it for something other than my amusement of inspiration. I used to live a block away from one of the cemeteries in Wausau, WI. It was a great place to walk the dog, but it was a little spooky at night, especially on a cloudy, drizzly night near the back where there wasn’t much light. I think the spookiness came, not from the cemetery residents but from all the cemetery stories I saw, read and heard when I was growing up. Here are some fascinating inscriptions found on old tombstones:

  • Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York: Born 1903–Died 1942. Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.
  • On a gravestone in a Georgetown, Washington, D.C. area cemetery Katharine Phelps Brown Ivison 11/25/17 – 6/12/97 Sterling HolliFunnee Gravestonenshead Ivison, Jr. 6/26/19 – 8/16/08 We finally found a place to park in Georgetown.
  • In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery: Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.
  • In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery: Anna Wallace The children of Israel wanted bread, And the Lord sent them manna. Clark Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna.
  • On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia: Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102. Only the good die young.
  • In a London, England cemetery: Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid but died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767
  • John Penny’s epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery: Reader if cash thou art In want of any Dig 4 feet deep And thou wilt find a Penny.
  • In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery: Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake, Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.
  • In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery: Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon him for not rising.
  • On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia She always said her feet were killing her but nobody believed her.
  • In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery: Here lays The Kid, We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, But slow on the draw.
  • A lawyer’s epitaph in England: Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer, and that is Strange.
  • In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England: On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle went out of tune.
  • Anna Hopewell’ s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont: Here lies the body of our Anna, Done to death by a banana. It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low, But the skin of the thing that made her go.
  • tombstone-backOn a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts: Under the sod and under the trees, Lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod, Pease shelled out and went to God.
  • The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer tip: Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with “R.E. Danforth’s Non-Explosive Burning Fluid”
  • In a cemetery in England: Remember man, as you walk by, As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so shall you be, Remember this and follow me. To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: To follow you I’ll not consent Until I know which way you went.

Most celebrity gravestones are well known, but this is my favorite, Winston Churchill (1874-1965): I am ready to meet my Maker, Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter!

Prompt: The Night Before Halloween

Old House From your bedroom window, you can see an abandoned old house. You’ve walked past it many times before. Once it was a beautiful house, but now the roof sags, the paint is peeling, the windows are boarded up and all your friends say it’s a ‘ghost house’ even though no one’s ever been in it. The night before Halloween you happen to look out at the old house. It seems to be glowing, as if the entire house is lit up. You get a pair of binoculars. You can see that the boards have been removed. There is light coming from every window and it looks like the roof isn’t sagging anymore. You don’t see any sign of any people. There are no cars in the driveway, no one appears to be in any of the rooms. What will you see when you go trick or treating there tomorrow? Will you knock on the door in the first place?


Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature – Why Read Books When You Can Listen to Music?

bob-dylanIt was quite a surprise when I heard that Bob Dylan was the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. I have long been a fan of Bob Dylan, have usually enjoyed his songs, his lyrics, and even to some degree his voice. However, with the abundance of writers, novelists playwrights, and poets in existence today it was curious the award would have been given to a troubadour. That would have made some sense 600 years ago when troubadours sang the tales of the times before Gutenberg invented the printing press.

Giving the Literature prize to a songwriter would be like giving the Economics prize to Donald Trump.

It seems there are so many, so many other possible choices such as Japanese novelist, Haruki Murakami; American writer, Margaret Atwood; British novelist, Neil Gaiman; Syrian Poet, Adonis; Irish Novelist, John Banville; or Italian novelist, Umberto Eco to name just a few.

Off hand, I wouldn’t think Bob Dylan’s lyrics would be considered literature. However, quite a few years ago I took a class titled Twentieth Century American Literature. Dylans song, “The Times They Are a Changing” was one of about ten works we discussed in the class.

My question now is, who’s next – Eminem, Kanye West, Blackalicious, or maybe The Notorious B.I.G?

This article argues that the reason Dylan won was because people don’t care much about books anymore: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature is proof that no one cares about books — Quartz

Choose A Book And Read To Your Barber, He’ll Take A Little Money Off The Top (if you’re a kid)

A great way for kids to brush up on reading skills? Why, reading to the barber, of course. That’s the idea at one barbershop in Ypsilanti, Mich. Oh, and in Houston, Dubuque, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio.

This is a wonderful idea. A child picks out a book, reads it to the barber while getting his hair cut and the barber knocks $2 off the regular price for kids haircuts. That in itself is a good reason to choose one barbershop over another, but some shops make it even better. Some quiz the child about the book, just to be sure the child both read and understood what was read. Others charge the full price for the haircut but give the $2 back to the child.

I hated getting my hair cut when I was a child, still do in fact. It was boring sitting in the chair while an old man poked around on my head when I could have been outside playing ball somewhere. The worst part was that I always wanted a bath or shower afterward because of the itch. Even though the barber wrapped me in a big cloth and wrapped something around my neck little bits of hair still found their way under my shirt and into my pants.

Back then if I knew I was going to get $2 when the barber was finished I’d probably have been begging my dad for a haircut every week. I might also have figured out how to read when I was in first grade, rather than waiting until I was in third (but that’s another story.


Source: Choose A Book And Read To Your Barber, He’ll Take A Little Money Off The Top : NPR Ed : NPR