Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Youngest Child's mobile phone is being sent away for repair. Again. I'm tempted to ditch this money pit but I'm not stupid enough to voice such heresy. Not being in contact with your child at all times in today's world is tantamount to abuse '“ how I survived walking to school and playing out from the age of five with only a front door key slung around my neck as a talisman is a mystery. But I keep that thought to myself too. Nobody cares, as Youngest likes to say.


I prepare her for social media cold turkey.

“You’ll be without your phone for a week,” I warn. “But you have access to an iPad and a laptop, so don’t worry.”

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She looks at me, but not with the anticipated big sad eyes.

“Well, I think it might be affecting my concentration anyway,” she says. “You get addicted and you’re always being distracted. It’s pinging all the time and you have to keep checking for messages....”

“FOMO,” says Eldest. “Fear Of Missing Out. If you’re trying to get something done, why not put it where you can’t see it? It just eats up time… on nothing. You can’t even remember what you spent hours looking at.”

“I just Miss Out,” says Middle. “I can’t be bothered remembering all those passwords for everything. Live real, people.”

It’s all very well for them to switch off. Try being an adult and ignoring social media. You’ll be unemployed and friendless faster than a FB Unfriending.

For example:

“You are the only person I know that I email then have to send a text to tell them I’ve sent an email,” says one acquaintance in exasperation. “Have you read it yet?!”

“Er, no, didn’t see it. But you’re sitting next to me right now, so why not just tell me what it said,” I say.

“No, check it when you get home!” they snap.

And expose myself to hundreds of other emails about stuff I should be onto, and then a sleepless night to follow? I did not read it. And did I Miss Out? I doubt it.