My *dumbphone* experiment-1 month on

This note is my first personal stock-taking of how my *dumbphone* experiment is turning out.

When I started nearly a month back, my hypothesis was that Sanaa (my 2 year old daughter) would want to play with the simple BLU phone too. However, with its limited functionality, she would soon get bored and give it up — all by herself!

Wishful thinking, mommy! Two weeks into the experiment — that, did not happen. Her attitude towards the new phone was both unexpected and insightful. Sanaa was truly fascinated by the keypad and how pressing the keys would produce a string of numbers on the screen. Since alphabets and numbers make up a large chunk of her world right now, this turned out to be very engaging for her. Moreover, she figured out how text messages work — so instead of sending free whatsapp messages to random folks she can now send expensive SMS-es from my phone! Guess how I found out? A few days back my friend sends me a text asking if I have been sending her blank messages. Dang! I am so glad, the security desk at my condo *never* responds to my calls — because Sanaa has probably dialed that number umpteen times (or wait, may be that’s why!)

Yet, this reiterated something I had noticed early on — kids really don’t need expensive, complex toys. They find something fascinating in just about anything, including cheap toys and everyday items. All the fancy stuffed toys, the toy houses and walking-talking animals sit unemployed in her playroom as she discovers interesting things in my kitchen cupboards and on my *dumb-phone*.

Just as I was about to give up on my “brilliant” idea, somewhere between the two and the three week mark, Sanaa’s interest in my dumbphone did seem to wane. These days she still likes to grab my phone but soon enough she hands it back to me with a smug smile as if to say, “Look, I’m returning your phone.What a good girl I have been!”

For now, the BLU phone is staying. I want to see how long it finally takes for Sanaa to lose all interest in my phone and if at all that happens. Moreover, this experiment has been opening my eyes to truth about my own social interactions. Will be posting about that in my next stock-taking article. In the meantime, do share any ideas or experiences of your own on reducing phone usage among kids in the comments below. What have you tried and what has worked?