THE BLOG
01/29/2015 01:56 pm ET Updated Mar 31, 2015

The Argument for Putting Down the Phone

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Get off the phone. Here's a message to all you parents. Get off the phone. Get off the iPhone. Get off the Blackberry. Get off the smart phone and be more present with your kids. I'm guilty of this. My 4-year-old daughter had a dance recital the other day.

When she was up against the wall not doing her stuff, I figured she was just talking and hanging out with the other kids. So, I would check my phone. I checked the ever-important e-mails. You know, the e-mails that need to be answered all the time no matter what you're doing?

It's important in today's culture to constantly be answering e-mails. It's important to be in touch with people all the time. At the end of the dance I told her she did a great job. She looked at me with those big eyes and said, "You were on your phone."

I was on my phone. I looked at her and I told her I saw everything and she did a great job. I even showed her the photos I took, but it didn't matter because the impression that she was left with was, me, on the phone.

How many are you are guilty of this?

How many of you use your phone while you are driving, checking your e-mails, or as your kids are in the back of the car. How many of you, when you're at the park with your kids, and believe me, I know, the park can be mighty boring...

How many of you are just standing there checking your Facebook, or checking your phone or texting people?

Are there times when your kids ask you to watch a movie? Are you present or sneaking a look at the phone?

Checking e-mails...

Checking a text...

Your kids are watching. Kids are present and kids are going to remember that their mom and dad had their hands attached to their phones the entire time. Childhood is such a brief thing.

Look back at your own childhood and think of the memories. Look at the way your parents were not present and how now, as an adult, you remember that.

I remember when I was a kid. My dad would play baseball with us. He'd put a time limit on it.
We'd play basketball and he'd put a time limit on it. He'd have a drink in one hand and a ball in the other. He would have his work socks on, pulled up to his knees, and his slippers on. My dad was not present when he was playing with us.

And I knew it. I felt it. These moments are what I remember. My brother and I talked about my father today, and we always talk about how my dad was not there. Even though he played with us, there was always the time limit or there was a drink in his hand. Those are the things kids remember when they get older.

They remember the little things. We don't talk about how dad took us on vacation. When we sit around, we talk about how dad was not present. Kids remember everything. How are your kids going to remember you?

Are they going to remember when you took them to the dance or gymnastics or went to their Little League game?

Or will they remember you looking at Facebook or texting or e-mailing somebody because you couldn't take that one-hour to remain present. We are all guilty of this. What we're doing is creating stories for our kids in the future. Stories of how their parents were more connected to their phones than them.

Put the phone down. Leave it in the car. Watch your child. Take your pictures. If you're going to look at the phone, tell the kid you're taking pictures and show them the pictures afterwards because they see it. Every one of them sees your phone addiction. I see it all the time.

Like I said, I'm no angel. I've done it. I've snuck the look at the phone. It's something I'm going to do moving forward. But at the dance, it's my daughter's time. The time is beautiful. The connection with her is an amazing thing. I'm also formulating a way that we remain present with them.

They're going to think it's okay not to pay attention. I see it in a lot of these kids. I'll see teenage kids with their phones, sitting at a family dinner, looking at them, staring at them, and playing with them. The parents not caring because they're on their phones, too. We have become a society of the disconnected thanks to our addiction to the phone.

Walk away from it. Be more present with the kids. It will impact their future. How many of you check your phone during traffic times or sneak a look or text something?

These are the things you're teaching your kids. These are the habits they're forming. Imagine how you'll feel if you get into a wreck. If your child got into a wreck...

Stop with the phones!