I’m currently reading Roald Dahl’s collection of short stories and poems. In this, I came across a poem called Television, which I highly recommend. It is about the dangers of letting children watch too much TV. When I finished it, I couldn’t help but wonder what Roald Dahl would think of the world today, and our current mobile phone culture (I use the word culture as loosely as possible). I have written this poem in response to Roald Dahl. I hope you like it.
Parents, carers, listen here,
My warning could not be more clear:
NEVER let your child own
One of those blasted mobile phones!
They square their eyes and mush their brains,
Making them act as if insane!
They walk on down a crowded street,
Their eyes stuck staring at their feet.
And I know you think it sounds quite mad,
When mobile phones are all they’ve had.
But I doubt I’ve seen a child run,
Since the summer of 2001!
Tap, tap, tapping at the screens,
Until their tiny fingers bleed.
Liking pictures, sharing memes
They’ve no idea what childhood means!
To be of such a tender age –
A tiny bird without a cage –
But do they appreciate this fact?
They just sit indoors, getting fat!
And you just watch them as their belts,
Grow tighter and their eyeballs melt,
Just like their brains and imaginations
Oh what a sorry situation!
And why? So you can have some time,
In front of the tele, sipping wine?
Or maybe you stare at your own,
Childhood murdering mobile phone!
Because, I tell you, this is why!
Your children cry and cry and cry,
To get the latest, coolest one
“Buy me it quick, or they’ll be gone!”
It’s because they see you, every night,
Laid on the sofa, face alight,
Click, click, clicking through the night.
“If mother does it, it must be right!”
And the saddest part of all this is,
When they grow up, no longer kids,
Reminiscing round the dinner table,
Their generation will not be able,
To tell stories like their grandparents tell,
Where they get all excited and start to yell,
“Remember the woods where we built those dens!”
“And raced our bikes across the glen!”
“The funniest time, remember when-
We buried poor Sebastian!”
“And left him there ‘til half past ten!”
“We were all so reckless way back then!”
“Oh, what I’d do to live it all again!”
So for goodness sakes, tell them straight!
“You’ll get a phone when you’re ten . . . add eight!”
“Now go outside and enjoy your lives!”
Then watch your little bleeders thrive!
It’s not just your fault, I know that too,
It’s something that we all must do.
Every human, every one,
Must to do the thing that must be done.
Cast aside the mobile phone,
Drag them from their comfort zone,
And set them free, your tiny heirs,
Into a world that’ll soon be theirs.
Because how can they keep this planet clean,
The oceans full, the forests green
When all their childhood has been,
Spent inside a mobile screen?