My friend Jennifer related this sad but true story. She was in a doctor's waiting room, where she was frustrated by the sight of a man glued to his phone. So compelling was his phone that he kept ignoring his two young children, who were trying to get Daddy's attention.

"After they gave up trying to entertain themselves, the kids were so desperate to get their father's attention that one of them said, 'I love you, Daddy!'" Jennifer said. But Daddy barely merely in response, barely making eye contact.

I wondered which would be a better solution: to liberate this man's phone from him, or to liberate the children and give them to a couple who still considers real live human beings a higher priority than texting?

We've all seen similar scenes. I was recently in a car dealership waiting area, where a father with twin toddler girls was riveted to some video on his iPad. These girls were not even 2, sitting in their stroller, with no toys to play with. I was alarmed at how complacent they were to sit so long with nothing to do. Did they already consider it normal to be ignored for so long? Scary thought.

There was a time when I would have spoken up to that man, but I can't afford to take the chance that he'd haul off and slug me, or perhaps worse, sue me for a micro or macro-aggression. And I'd probably lose in court!

"Mommy! I want you to listen with your face!"

It's too soon to see what the long-term impact will be on kids growing up with adults who are so addicted to their phones that the kids are a distant fourth in priority. Increasingly, I am reminded of a brilliant plea uttered by one tiny child, impatient for her mother to acknowledge her presence: "Mommy! I want you to listen with your face!"

I'm more attuned than ever to my own phone addiction as I see so many others who literally walk like cro-magnon man, perpetually in a slight hunch, staring at a little screen. But when I turned off my phone for a couple of hours one afternoon, my husband was so unnerved at his inability to reach me instantly he began hunting me down by calling all our children. Now I give a warning when I'm going offline.

There is already a growing backlash against our collective phone mania, specifically through the popular field of mindfulness. This focuses on "being in the moment," literally stopping to breathe, take in your surroundings, and disconnect from external, electronic stimuli. Such a simple idea, but one whose time has come.

It's hard to break an addiction, but why not start with an hour a day and build up? Make phones technology non-grata at mealtimes. Texting incessantly is not why God gave us opposable thumbs.

Next time I see someone in charge of young kids ignoring them because they're texting or watching a video, I hope I will have the courage to say something. Isn’t there too much at stake in our society to stay silent?