Phone & Skype: Manners & Etiquette
Having family scattered throughout the country and even abroad, we - as a family - have started to video-chat pretty regularly. Having moved far from her, my eldest has also started chatting on the phone with her bestest friends, also pretty regularly.
Frequently, I will overhear the kid(s) in the other room, chatting with a friend or with family via Skype in the other room, then I will hear my daughter say, "oh wait a minute, my brother needs something," and she will then proceed to go, pick up her toddler brother, tend to his needs. Under non-Skype circumstances, she would have had no problem letting her brother fuss or go on unattended, unnoticed for any number of minutes. On Skype, though, the dynamic is different.
Same goes for the phone. I will hear her sharing news about her first week of school, then: "Stop it!" and "Wait, I need to get something from my sister."
The examples are really endless. If I were on the other end of the phone/screen, I might be mighty irritated at the lack of focus, all the distraction. Can't we just have a conversation? To be sure, there are a confluence of factors here. First, the other family members not actively participating on the call are likely to be a bit more intrusive during this time, when the other is obviously occupied. I'm not sure why that is, it just is. Second, the one participating on the call might want to share every, single bit of detail of our lives in this household. Perhaps that is the intent in engaging in other activities whilst on a call.
Talking on the phone (and, now on Skype) is another vehicle for our communication, for social interaction. There must be some "etiquette", some expectations, some code of conduct that tells the person on the other side: "yes, you are important; yes, I do want to talk to you; and yes, I do want to give you undivided attention."
Perhaps, too, it speaks to our society at large and our shorter and shorter attention spans. That macroscopic question aside, what I'd really love to hear is how your kids are on the phone or video calls. Are they engaged, receptive, attentive? Or, are they distracted and easily distractable, even annoyingly so?