Remember when George Jetson's boss used to call him up on the videophone to yell at him? I always cringed at the idea of answering the phone in person (8 am, greasy hair and face, Almond Joy in hand, embarrassing 80s music playing in the background). Speaking by phone hides a multitude of sins, not to mention eye rolls and blah-blah-blah motions made with one's hand.
And although we are still largely a traditional family when it comes to phone calls, one of us (Flash, age 11) is tiptoeing into the Facetime Era. It's a really great way for him to keep in touch with old friends in our last two states of residence.
I have no problem with Facetime on principle--when I know it's happening. Lately I have found myself mid-lecture only to notice the face of Justin or Tyler or Jaden or whomever on the side of the desk, patiently waiting for the crazy woman to wrap it up. While I'm generally annoyed in that moment (and possibly embarrassed: see greasy face/Almond Joy above), I have to admit Facetime is making me a better parent. It's as if a sort of non-creepy Big Brother camera could be recording me at any moment. I find myself thinking--breathing--for a minute before I talk to my kids. It's a good habit, I think. Now where's my dinner-making machine?