Today we are going to talk about cell phones.
I think we can all agree that cell phones are really useful tools, we can choose to do a little or a lot on them. Some people use them just as phones. Some phone and text. Some use them as a camera. Some use them for social media.
I went to a really interesting talk with Elizabeth Milovidov from digitalparentingcoach.com about children and technology, and I thought her talk was really inspiring. I am not going to talk to you in this podcast about children and technology, but about us and technology. There are a lot of similarities though, and the most important points are the same.
I think technology is awesome. Thanks to technology you are listening to me now, I recorded this on my computer, edited it on user friendly software and brought it to you through syndication to your iTunes or android app and you are listening to me on a device. That’s pretty awesome, don’t you think?
We use advanced technology for our client and nanny intake, both for safety, efficiency and ease of use.
The problem I think, is when we are not in charge, and when we can’t stop. You might be surprised that a tech fan like me who always ends up in tech conversations at social events and love learning about new technology do a few things entirely off line. I use an analog watch and a paper calendar. It’s through trial and error that I found that those are distractions I do not need my phone to give me. I am more focused, efficient and present with those things separated from my digital devices.
I am not a multi talker. And if you want to be present, focused and do what you are doing well, you should not be either. There is a bit of research done on efficiency and multi tasking and it looks like if you want to do something well you need to focus on that thing.
I want to talk about two things that really apply to nannying when it comes to cell phone use.
The first is, what mindlessly being on your cell phone when working tells your family, both the children and the parents, and I will give you an example of their perspective of it. You might not like it.
The other is how you can protect yourself and your family, especially if you are working with high profile families, this is definitely a conversation you have to have with them about technology at work.
You and I both know that mindlessly being on our cell phones, I am talking about checking social media, scrolling through lists of useless information and playing games, is a waste of our time. When we are doing it we don’t feel it, we are numb to it, but it’s a waste of time. There is research done surveying how people feel on different apps, and the ones I am talking about all make us feel worse, while there are ones, like meditation apps, that make us happier.
In my opinion, you should never be mindlessly scrolling or messing about on your phone, checking messages, texting or spending time on social media when you are at work. What you do in private, at home is your business, but practice self care when at work and do not fall into the black hole that is mindless scrolling. Even if the kids are asleep. I promise you, there are things for you to do that are better for you. If you have to be on your phone, try Headspace and take care of yourself. Or read a book.
You can absolutely not be present and take care of the kids, physically and emotionally the way they need if you are distracted by notifications on your phone. Likes on IG or messages on fb will be there later, and you know what? They don’t matter. If you want to indulge and use the platforms (I sure do), do it after work, and do it in moderation. Make sure you are using tech, not the other way around.
Families ask how to talk to their nannies about tech, about using their phone during work, and I think it is pretty obvious that when you work you do not mindlessly mess around on your phone. If you need it to be able to call or be reached that is fair enough, but otherwise you do not need it. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the person you have hired and are paying to take care of your child to not be distracted by their phones, what do you think?
The other thing is really important. Your safety. Do you know that to protect the conversations and integrity of my clients (and myself), I don’t have the facebook app or messenger on my phone? I only use completely encrypted apps to talk to people.
Imagine this, you have given permission to a big social media app to have access to your photos, your sms conversations and your microphone. You are at work with your kids, and you take some photos of them. All your photos are then able to be accessed by the app. And with the access to the microphone it listens to your conversations. That’s how you sometimes get freaky ads in front of you, apps that are listening. Do you know what access you have given to apps? Have you had the conversation about internet safety with your family? Do you even know where to start?
Many families and nannies talk about photos of the children. Some families want photos to see what is going on during the day. How do you share them? Who has access to them? Have you thought about it? It’s not to scare you, just to make you aware of things you need to think of.
Do you know what? When I removed the fb app and messenger from my phone I felt such a relief. And I got back hours every day. I didn’t think I was on it that much, but it was such a distraction. My recommendation to you is to think about it, take off all the things that distract you. Turn off notifications. Decide times you check messages, it is completely and totally ok to not be available all the time. You might not even need as much Headspace after reducing the number of things that demand your attention every day. You are welcome :)
Thank you so much for listening and for spending time with me today, I am very thankful for you.
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See you next week, I will be talking to one of our awesome nannies Deidre then who will be sharing her story as a nanny with us. Bye :)