I believe it's time to reconsider what it means to be a father in America. Sure, we could look for guidance to the pre-smartphone era. But many 80s and 90s fathers spent far too much time in front of the TV at the expense of their children. Instead, a model that embodies what children need is the nineteenth-century American frontier father.
"Am I that small? Is there really so much more out there, beyond my life, my world?" These are liberating thoughts for kids who largely believe the world revolves around them. Particularly this tech-saturated generation, where the world they know best fits in the palm of their hand -- aka their smartphones.
As a Taoist, what I see most here is a lack of balance. I see a lack of harmony. I see an unbridled and excessive turning away from nature in favor of human-built worlds that may be more comfortable and titillating, but are far less intricate, sublime, and ultimately rewarding. I see, too, the addictive power of our technology and the consequences that addiction has on the world we actually inhabit.
We all know the tell-tale signs.... a hand over the right ear of the driver in front of us, someone driving 50 miles per hour on the Interstate. Or, the slow "lane drift" as the driver in front or beside you slowly creeps into your lane and then corrects his lane tracking before he does it all over again.