Cell phones are ubiquitous in our lives--so much so that it's hard to remember when they weren't. When it comes to our grown children, they keep us in closer touch with the blips and bumps in their everyday lives, even when they live far away. Instead of talking to them on a land line at their apartment once or twice a week, we're apt to chat them up once or twice a day wherever they may be.
But cell phones may have ramifications for us when our grown children take up with a significant other--when they move in together, get engaged, marry. Both will have cell phones and that, in effect, may limit who you talk to and how you develop a relationship with the new son- or daughter-in-law.
A friend remembers back to the day when her in-laws or parents used to call. She and her husband would both get on the phone and talk to them. That put her in touch with her mother- and father-in-law when they were on the phone. Her husband connected to her parents when they called. Sometimes his parents would call and she would pick up the phone. Or vice versa. Now, her son, who just got married, has his cell phone; so does his spouse. They don't have a land line. When my friend calls her son, she gets her son--and never her daughter-in-law.
Skype can put the two of them together, but even the Skype calls come up on only one of their laptops or smart phones--and they may not be at home or even within shouting distance of each other. And then there's called ID. If we call out child's new bride or groom and they don't pick up our call, is their phone on mute or are they tuning us out? Or would they prefer a text to a call?
Adjusting our traditional lives to the disruptions of technology is not easy.
A PEW study reports that 91 percent of American adults own cell phones and use them for much more than phone calls. In PEW's most recent nationally representative survey, researchers checked in on some of the most popular activities people perform on their cell phones. It makes it clear that smart phones aren't going away and that we need to figure out how to use them to stay in touch with new members to our family.
Here are PEW's findings: