Should My Wedding Ban Phones?

Dan Piraro nails the wedding cake. A couple atop the cake  (caketopper) looks down at their respective smartphones.
Artist: @danpiraro.

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am sending a picture I saw on Instagram. It’s of a bride and groom atop a wedding cake, holding phones in their hands. I am getting married this summer. Is it OK to ask guests to come unplugged? …To not bring their phones to the ceremony? We are getting married outdoors in a meditative and tranquil spot. Buzzing phones might ruin the moment. Briana, San Francisco

Dear Brianna: First of all, congratulations to both of you. I have personally been to a board meeting where I was required to lock up my phone outside, and second, at a school exam where backpacks had to be left at the door. I don’t see harm in your request, although guests will have to forfeit snapping their own pictures as you come down the aisle. If you follow on with a wedding reception, will you want to reneg the rule? The KNOT says ‘yes’.

Sending a Text on Mother’s Day Sent Wrong Message

Mother’s Day went awry when Mom got a text…not a phone call

Dear Ms. Smartphone: On Mother’s Day I texted my mother to wish her a happy Mother’ Day. This seemed like good digital etiquette as I live out of town and could not visit. Now my mother is angry and says I should have called. Did I do something wrong? T.J. Tiburon

Dear T.J.: There are too many factors here to pull apart. Do you typically text your Mother, or do you call her? Is there a tradition of sending cards or flowers? And, when did you text: late in the day, or before she got up? There are many different options for communications today, and you should choose the one your Mom would like- not the one you prefer.

Here is a useful academic take- the mode we use (say text vs. voice call) also changes the messages in a subtle way. Have you considered making peace now by sending Mom a singing telegram?!

Ipads in Library?

Taking kids to library…where they play on Ipads!

Ipads in Public Library (Nashua, NH) (2013)

Dear Ms. Smartphone: Writing on behalf of my daughter. She questions why I take my grandchildren to the library every week, since they only play with the Ipads in the kid’s room. I suppose those Ipads are loaded with age-appropriate games and reading. When they do this, it gives me time to browse the shelves. Mora, Lexington

Dear Mora: It’s a generational thing- you and I may not quite get it. The skills for reading well and remembering content on digital media may be different than the skills for reading well and remembering content in print.

Many educators see the need to offer both. Check out this older podcast from Julie Coiro.I like the point that good readers and experienced gamers may differ in their reading preferences.

Here is a more recent story compiled by KQED radio. This Anaheim teacher is developing cognitive strategies that help to deepen reading comprehension (online?). We are at the infancy of our understanding the differences. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekly visit and encourage the grandkids to check out reading books, just like you do!