Bringing back the 70’s summer…

Bringing back the 70's summer... by Keri Kettle

This was taken in Mazatlán, Mexico around 1976 when I was about 5.  We used to camp on the beach here in the summer because my mom was a teacher and it was cheaper to live in Mexico while she was off work for the summer.  We had no television or phone, handheld electronics didn’t exist yet (unless you count transistor radios and we didn’t have one of those on our camping trips either).

I took that sunset picture with my instamatic camera.  I didn’t use filters or post it to social media with a hashtag.  I got one roll of film for the summer and didn’t see how the pictures came out until we got home, most of them are blurry or off kilter or both, like this one:

Bringing back the 70's summer... by Keri KettleI learned to play chess from Swedish travelers, sitting on the cool concrete under the shade of a palapa “roof”.  From the pictures that survived, it appears I was pretty much naked the whole time, throwing on a dress only to go to the market.  Once per day I was allowed to pick out an orange soda or the Mexican version of a Twinkie – a pretty big deal for a hippie kid who didn’t get to have refined sugar most of the year (anyone else remember the horrors of carob?).

Now my kids have their own phone that is also a camera, television, library and infinite source of information.  I wonder if that little screen will suck their attention away from the sunsets and waves.  I wonder how their brains will grow differently without long, lazy days of summer spent staring at the sea with nothing to distract them from their own thoughts.  I wonder if summer trips are as memorable if you are watching your own personal screen the whole time instead of singing 99 Bottles of Beer off-key with your people.

I want my kids (and myself) to have enough time away from our screens that we can hear ourselves think, maybe we can even listen to each other a bit, too.  I want to be sure we are connecting to our people in the room with us as much as we are with our Facebook friends.  I want to make sure we are enjoying our food as much while eating it as we are while taking pictures of it.

I want to start a conversation about getting some boundaries around screen time.  Maybe you do, too.  I’ve invited Dr.Tracy Bennett, an expert in kids’ internet use, to join me in a conversation about summer screen time.  Get the details here.

Please share your thoughts.