Tonawanda News


April 4, 2013

DUVALL: Your cellphone isn't a parenting device


Tonawanda News — I’ve written many a tome about the perils of technology that amplifies meaningless communication and mutes genuine interaction. This is a new low. 

It still floors me that things like this need be said, but here it goes. A cellphone isn’t a parenting device. It’s a cellphone. You use it to call people, text people, check your email and social media. 

With the NHL trade deadline looming I’ll be carrying my charger around 24/7 to ensure I’m never without Twitter to find out if the Sabres have made a trade.

Other people just want to check Facebook incessantly. If that’s your thing, fine. It makes you kind of a loser in my book, but that’s your problem, not mine.

However it does become my problem — everyone’s problem — when that kid of yours who was brought up being rewarded with a toy for refusing to shut up and sit still grows into a semi-social brat whose me-me-me worldview can’t possibly comprehend why he shouldn’t send a text a minute while driving down the 290.

It becomes my problem when all these millennials grow up not knowing how to convey emotion without use of a colon and an open or closed parenthesis.

It becomes my problem when your kid knows everything about “Finding Nemo” except how to spell “finding.” Or “Nemo.”

And on that last point, stop blaming teachers because your kid is stupid. If you have a kid you have a considerably higher responsibility for how he or she turns out in life than the man or woman who tried in vain to get them to read a book or do long division or remember who won the Civil War.

So if you heard that insipid commercial and were in any way moved to buy something I hope you like your smart phone. It’ll probably be the last time your name and the word “smart” are in the same sentence for a while.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at

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