The "heartwarming" Apple commercial opens on a teen who looks surprisingly like my own screen-obsessed son. His head is buried in his phone, he never looks up or participates in the hectic holiday happenings. It is a scene that is so familiar to many of us.
And then at the end he stands and shows his whole family that he has actually been creating a moving, heartfelt video of their time together (thanks to Apple's edit features and AirPlay). His mother's face crumbles -- she had it all wrong. He is truly present in family life and appreciates what is going on around him. His was the most special present of all.
Except it's not true.
He was videoing, not participating -- furthering the idea that life is not real unless someone captures it on camera. His phone is a barrier to his participation in the family culture. Yes, he (supposedly) created a lovely video, and yes, it made his fake family cry and the over 6 million who watched it on TV and on YouTube.
It also sold phones. It went viral, flooding my Facebook feed with headlines like: get a tissue handy. It was passed around by hopeful parents asking themselves if they were wrong about their screen addict children.
Apple did a good job. For a moment, we were relieved of our guilt of buying our kids phones, and then watching them disappear right in front of us. We non-commercial mothers can hope that it means that our teens are making moving, tributes to our family life or at least doing something other than checking out that cute girl's bikini.
But they aren't. They are playing Clash of Clans or Instagramming their new socks. I can bet that the majority of teens watched that commercial and turned to their parents and said "I'm not doing that, I'm texting." Or at least mine did. And the majority of parents saw the commercial and hoped that it gave their teen the spark of an idea.
But it didn't. But maybe it made you feel a little better about buying your kid an iProduct.
Read more at Embrace the Chaos.