Former First Lady Michelle Obama sat down to chat with Scandal and Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women on Tuesday, and as you can imagine, the two amazing, aspirational women had much to discuss. At one point, they landed on the topic of technology, and Michelle Obama pointed out just how much parenting has changed since smartphones have taken over everyone's lives! Back when using a landline was de rigeur, parents automatically knew who their kids were talking to.
“Gone are the days when the [landline] phone would ring ― you remember that? ― in your house,” Obama said. “And you would pick it up and someone would say, ‘Hello, Mrs. Such-And-Such. My name is Blank, and I’m calling to speak to Malia.’ And you’d go, ‘This is the person who’s talking to my daughter’ ― boy, girl, whatever.”
Now, because Sasha, Malia, and most American teens use their own devices to chat with friends, Obama says she's far less familiar with her daughters' social network. “There are friends that I don’t know they have,” she said. “And they’re shocked when it’s like, ‘I’m going to Such-And-Such’s house,’ and I’m like, ‘Who’s that?’”
The powerful duo went on to wax poetic about the days of having to juggle talking on a corded phone and dealing with your parents being right there. Even if Michelle's parents, Marian and Frasier Robinson, knew exactly who their daughter was talking to and what they were talking about, the lawyer and writer felt liberated at home, in the sense that she could speak her mind. “They made room for our voices at a very young age, and I don’t mean in any symbolic way,” she said. “I just mean sitting at the dinner table, really listening to what we had to say and laughing at our jokes and allowing our opinions to come into the conversation, not always shushing us.”
Cheers to that!
Ultimately, it's true: Parents may not have old-school technology on their side anymore. But perhaps that's a case for promoting even more Robinson family-style communication in our homes!