Last Updated on March 20, 2018

I am all about giving children life experience through travel in order to teach them about new people, places, and opportunities different than their own. We have traveled by several means of transportation to many places and we have stayed in various forms of accommodations.

My children, like their mother, have become somewhat adept at the art of people watching and quiet observation in an effort to better understand the world around them. We take every opportunity while traveling to take in what is around us and experience the complexities of the world through the differences we observe.

Imagine my utter astonishment at the sight I recently observed while traveling. We had entered a bus and there was a mother with her child in a stroller. Mother was drinking her cafe latte or something similar, her 2-year-old daughter was holding an iPod and staring at the little screen, her ears were plugged with the familiar white ear buds with the telltale white strings streaming down her little neck, over her cute pink blankie-covered belly and into the portal of the iPod.

I stood spellbound by what I was seeing, and I was scarcely able to prevent myself from giving some friendly unsolicited advice to this mother who was totally oblivious to the missed opportunities all around her daughter’s developing mind.

Instead of staring with wonder at the opening and closing of the bus doors, she stared at the wee little screen in her hands.  Instead of engaging with me, or the sweet older woman sitting near her, in a game of peek-a-boo, she stared at the wee little screen in her hands. Instead of hearing squeals of laughter from the 5-year-old at the other end of the bus, her ears were filled with the sound of … whatever was engaging her on that wee little screen.

As we all got off the bus and walked through the airport and into the tram, the child never swayed her gaze locked in on that little screen. All around me were colors, sights, voices, emotion, people of every size, color, and nationality—the toddler with the wee little screen experienced none of it.

Over the last few years I have been increasingly alarmed at the number of humans who are disengaged from the world because of ear buds and wee little screens. I must admit, I am now horrified that I must add to that number of humans … the children among us.

What do children miss out on when their world becomes so small and private?

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