My Gripe with Cell Phone Commericals

Have you seen the cell phone commercial that has a mom in the store with her daughter? Daughter is in the shopping cart, mom is looking at a box of cereal. She smiles at her daughter while the girl is oblivious, totally focused on the cartoon streaming to mom’s phone? The catch phrase, talking about all the various things you can watch on your phone: “We know what is most important.” (I tried to find it but it has eluded me.) This one has me irritated. It gets under my skin and I just want to rail at the phone company for it. How dare you!

The most important thing to you should be your child, not the features on your phone. What is this showing children? They have to watch TV all the time? Families can’t escape from electronic entertainment, even in the grocery store? Sure, I have used my phone to text while in line. But I don’t ignore people around me, especially not my child. I don’t text or check Facebook while with friends; it is just rude.

A trip to the grocery store is full of amazing learning opportunities for a child! The grocery store is the first experience with nutrition. A parent explains what they are buying and why. Show them the variety of fruits and vegetables, why that brightly colored box of cereal is not the one to buy. Try new foods.

It is a time for conversation: “What would you like for dinner?” Children have likes and dislikes and often want to have a say in what they eat. If we teach them what is good, then they can make informed decisions to their diet.

The grocery store is a place for early mathematics skills. “No, you have five dollars to spend, that bag of chips costs three. You can’t get the bag of Lindor’s chocolates.” Budgeting, adding, subtracting, counting all happens when you shop. Include your child.

Early writing and reading skills can be honed while grocery shopping. We all have a list when we go in (mental, electronic, or on paper); have your child cross items off while you shop. Better yet, have the child pick them up as your read the item off. Environmental print is one of the earliest forms of reading. A child knows the logo for many of their favorite foods. Let them show off that skill. Then tie that back to math and compare the price of the item with a store brand.

The commercial is also showing the parent that a parent can only be happy if the child is restrained in a shopping cart watching a movie. (Side note: do you realize how much of a day a child spends tied down or restrained??) Is this what parenting has sunk down to?

The grocery store outing can be a wonderful enriching moment for a child and adult. Take the time, and enrich your moments. Enjoy.

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Trulybst

Pursuing life to its fullest. A woman, a mom, wife, and struggling teacher who knows the importance of treating myself right.

14 thoughts on “My Gripe with Cell Phone Commericals”

  1. Our kids live in a totally different world than we did. Not just with technology but in the sheer scope of what’s expected of them and their parents. Everything is more intense. Faster, more extreme. @Sheena is Knitting all the things is right when she points out how often people get bent out of shape if you aren’t available to them 24/7. If you don’t answer your phone or return texts immediately. Sometimes I think parents use technology with their children in order to get a break from being “on” all the time. To have 10 minutes of accomplishment without expectation or interruption. This is not to say we should use technology as a tool that allows us to tune out our children or vise versa, simply that it’s often too easy to judge rather than understand why something is happening. As mothers we have to give each other a break.

    http://incaseimgone.com/2011/09/19/social-media/

  2. I agree and disagree. When my kids are out in the world I want them to interact with the world, and part of that is learning how to be patient and dealing with boredom. I definitely do feel that my kids, at least, are too plugged in sometimes and mandate as much no “electronic anything” time for them to just play. That being said, there are times when I will schlep every portable device I can with me to keep them quite and lessen my distractions because I have things that need to get done. At those times I welcome the relief I get from their electronic distractions.

  3. I’m a fan of BASIC math because of my dad. Whenever we’d go grocery shopping, he’d stand there comparing the deals between items and he’d make sure to say it out loud so I could learn with him. To this day when I shop alone I do what he did or if I’m lazy, I call him =D

  4. This can be all well and good if you have time, patience, and a big/empty store, but that’s not the case for everyone. If you just need to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to keep the kid quiet and distracted so they aren’t trying to grab at everything on the shelves and slowing things down.

    As far as restraint goes…so much of that is for the child’s own safety and that of those around them. You take the kid out of the cart and they will (probably) take off, which means not only is it a nuisance to everyone else in the store, there’s the potential for them to get hit by a cart, trip someone, fall and hurt themselves, or knock over some display. The parent and kid aren’t the only two people in the store, and you’ve got to be courteous and careful for those around you. The fact that the world doesn’t revolve around you is actually a really good and often neglected lesson.

    This just seems like the sort of thing that’s great in theory but rarely works in the real world.

  5. I can appreciate food shopping as being a learning opportunity, however, it’s also a necessity and one that can involve considerable adult attention on the task at hand. At least, for me it’s been that way. Much as I love involving Juniper Junior in tasks and helping him to learn through the world at large, I can only multi-task to a certain degree; the turning point with shopping was when he began to attempt getting out of the trolley/buggy, and after that, I turned to internet shopping.

    There are enough difficult situations as there is, and if I can avoid that for an hour or so a week by either not involving Juniper Junior in a task at all, or by providing some kind of distraction, then I’m okay with that.

    Sure, the increasing presence of technology isn’t an easy one, however, if I see parents distracting their child with a piece of a tech, I can’t assume that they’re doing that all day long. There’s a lot of tech that Juniper Junior isn’t exposed to but it has its uses. There’s also the difference between entertainment and need; much of the tech in our house is a necessity, compared to pure entertainment. Outside of the home, phones are pure necessity; Juniper Junior knows this, though not the extent of why, and if I need to use my phone, I will. The example of a phone entertaining a child in a shop seems like a combination of entertainment and necessity; the sooner the shopping is completed, the more time there is to focus on a child completely.

  6. The implication that cell phones are The Most Important Thing Ever is annoying, but my god they can be a sanity saver. I’m usually at the grocery with my three-year-old a couple times a week. Sometimes we’re not in a hurry and I can let her sniff all the fruits and vegetables and talk to the lobsters in the tank and look for colors/letters/etc. Sometimes it’s been way too long since she sat on the potty or whatever and I just need to get in and out as fast as possible, so I’ll let her play with my phone for a minute so I can grab what I need and run. And I put her in the cart for her own safety; she’s a wanderer and on the rare occasions I try to let her walk with me while I just grab a basket for one or two things she has a tendency to run off. She’s little and has nearly gotten run over by other carts a couple times, and sometimes it takes me a minute to find her if she walks off to another aisle and it scares the crap out of me. Or she wants to push the cart but she can’t see where she’s going and runs into things/people. The only other time she’s strapped down is in the car, where I’m strapped down too and the alternative is unthinkable, and sometimes she snaps herself into the booster seat at the table (which frankly I’d rather she didn’t do because she can’t unstrap it and then whines to get set free).

  7. It seems to me your problem isn’t with the cell phone commercial as much as it is your disagreement with how someone else parents their child.

    While I agree with your points on how grocery shopping can be a great way to teach your kids, what I’m getting most from this piece is you’re simply judging every parent by your own standards. Which, hey, your choice, but this attitude is so unfair.

    What about working parents who just need to get through the shopping trip any way they can? What about parents of special needs kids who need to find any way possible to keep their kids from melting down in the store (and who absolutely need to keep them in the cart to prevent mayhem)? You have no clue what each family’s situation is.

    Berating parents wholesale for letting their kids watch a movie in the grocery store is wrong on so many levels, and only reinforces the idea that no matter what we do to raise our kids it’s just not good enough.

    1. I think I am more looking at it from the perspective of an educator. There are times I leave my daughter at day care for 30 more minutes so I can run to the store for a couple of items or I go major shopping late at night. But I really don’t like the idea that society pushes the constant connection to media. When do they get off time?

  8. Every cell phone commercial that drives the point home of BE ALWAYS CONNECTED gets on my nerves. Right now on Facebook there’s a clip going round about cell phones in 1999 and “Oh, how it used to be so relaxed to not be available all the time”.
    These people don’t even realize that they have that choice. That you don’t have to be brainwashed into getting the newest model, the fastest internet, the brightest camera. People complain about you not replying their text in under five minutes? Show them the light. I know this is commerce, but you can pick if you want to go with it or throw its weight off.

    1. I will ignore my cell phone for hours or days if I don’t want to deal with people…But I’m also old enough (28) that my high school and earlier classmates did not, as a general rule, have cell phones. I hate — HATE — *having to* inform people that I don’t always answer my phone or respond to texts right away. Because answering and replying immediately have become expected.

      I also hate when I’m talking to someone and they answer the phone JUST to tell the person calling that they’ll call back. That’s what voice mail is for! Just because I *can* be available 24/7 doesn’t mean I am or want to be.

      1. Ain’t this the truth? I finally had to cave in and buy a touch screen phone after my previous phone of 2 years crapped out. All I need is the ability to call, text, and use my phone as an alarm clock and planner. I don’t need GPS because I was lucky enough to get one for my birthday a couple of years back (and if I didn’t, I could call a friend or family member if I get lost). But nooo, they want you to have all these stupid bells and whistles when you’re the type that’s probably gonna use 20% of them, if that. I kicked some dirt in my cell phone provider’s eye by buying the cheapest touch screen I could find, internet/data plan optional.

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