Put it away!… I had been warned!

My poor, poor children. They can’t so much as smile without me or my wife shoving a beautiful, shiny 5.8” Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen in their little faces, that’s an S8 to you and me. If my 2 year old called me Papa, I would be confident he was not pretending to be an affectionate Italian orphan, he would most probably be abbreviating “paparazzi”, and only lacks the 4 letter vocabulary to tell me what he really thinks of the intrusion! We don’t mean to hound them or get in their faces, but they are just too damn cute, and we have been trained/conditioned/brainwashed to record and savour every nanosecond of cuteness that pours forth from their chubby, food-stained cheeks. And what do we do with it? At best, we revel in the warm velvety caress of 14 likes on Insta, or at worst, we put it in a cold, dark, featureless Dropbox drawer never to be seen again.

This was never more evident than yesterday, when my 2 year old and I were playing a good old game of Birdies in the Sky. You know, where you have to jump up and down, arms up, fingers extended, shouting “birdies in the sky, birdies in the sky”, then you fall over, have a quick tickle and repeat. No? Don’t know that one? Yeah, me neither!

My son, whose identity shall remain shrouded in secrecy for fear of denigrating our delicate entente cordiale further, shall be known here as… b-Ollie. As my heart literally ached and made squeaky noises of pure love and affection for this Apple of my iPhone (sorry, S8), my hand instinctively reached for the record button. Before I could say “hashtag OMG look at my kid, world”, he strode over purposefully, pointed in my face and said, “No Daddy, phone away!” He steadfastly refused to point at birdies, jump on the spot or exude anything other than cold indifference until that phone was out of sight.

No sooner had the top of the dejected 8MP AF f1.7 aperture lens of the camera vanished into my pocket; locating birdies, pointing at them enthusiastically, falling in a heap and having a tickle, resumed immediately.

I was dumbfounded. Our mobile technology has changed the world, absolutely for the better, that is beyond a doubt. It has brought families together across continents, it has brought a global shopping mall to our pockets, it has kept us safe and in touch in times of need, there is no part of our life left unenhanced by the rapid advance on the mobile phone. But…. And it’s a big one… BUT, it can’t replace a real moment shared and loved between a father and son, a mother, friends, family, the dog and the cat.

Sometimes, you’ve got to be that 2 year old; put your phone away, point at the birdies in the sky and have a quick tickle. He taught me a hell of a lesson yesterday, and there is something beautiful in that moment we shared; it’s that for once, we shared it alone. Thank you b-Ollie.

by Andy – Mazuma employee and tired and food stained proud Dad of two.

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