by Emily Torp
HOUSTON, TX — World-renowned Developmental Psychologist Jerome Richardson, with the Texas Children’s Hospital, has found that “young children who have not seen their relatives due to COVID-19, but video chat them frequently, have begun to believe that the relative lives inside of the phone.”
Dr. Richardson has been asking parents for their experience observing their children on video calls as part of his research. One mother tells of how her little Timmy, age 3, asks troubling questions following his weekly Facetimes with “Gramma.”
“Gramma … cannot … leave … phone.” No, Timmy, actually she can. And not in the horror movie The Ring sense.
Olivia’s Mom, Sarah, is worried that not only does she not understand Grandma lives across the country in Wisconsin, and not in the physical confines of the phone, but she also has become quite rude to her “MeeMaw.”
“MeeMaw so big for phone. Her room small.” Her Grandmother actually does live in a tiny home, but Olivia does not remember asking her why she was poor when she visited last year. “MeeMaw, too close. MeeMaw, nose big. MeeMaw scary witch.” Um, Olivia, you’re not on mute, she can hear you, and she just wrote you out of the will.
Parents have formed a support group called “Parents of Children who are Technologically Confused and Double Down on their False Beliefs and are Mean on Video Calls.” Or, PCTCDDFBMVC. They recommend that if all else fails and you need your toddler to behave for five minutes on Skype, candy and toys are always successful forms of bribery.
Developmental psychologists are also urging parents to print out life-size cutouts of loved ones so kids have an easier time visualizing them as real people. The Texas Children’s Hospital is selling these cutouts for $150 each for relatives under five feet tall, and $200 for relatives under six feet. For an extra $50, cut-outs can be upgraded with hyper-realistic eyes that always look like they’re watching you, or the relative can be depicted with arms stretched out wide ready to receive a hug.
Unfortunately, sleep psychologists warn that these cut-outs could lead to nightmares or sleep paralysis demons that stay with children for the rest of their lives.
Research also suggests having Grandma (who can barely take a selfie) film a “House Tour” to help kids remember what her house looks like, and reassure them that she has one. To take it a step further, burn a “vanilla cookie” and “mothballs” candle at the same time so the kids can remember the smell as well. They deserve the whole ambience.
Meanwhile, Geriatric Psychologists are finding that Grandparents are sick and tired of Zoom and would rather just forget they have Grandchildren and play Bingo.