Marie Louise McConville: Parents glued to their phones may miss special moments with their children
There's no denying technology has changed the world as we know it.
Twenty years ago, the very idea of a cashless society and driver-less cars was just the stuff of Hollywood movies.
Many moons ago, the introduction of mobile phones opened up a new world of possibilities for us.
Soon, everyone had them and not long after, texting became the next big thing.
In recent years, mobile phones have become all about being online on the go and social networking. Don't get me wrong, it can be fun and handy - but at what cost?
Driving home from work the other day, I found myself sitting in the usual rush hour traffic.
As I was waiting for the cars to move, I noticed a mother and her young daughter walking along the pavement beside me.
The little girl, who looked around eight-years-old, had a pair of heelies on her feet - trendy trainers with retractable wheels - and she was skating along happily beside her mum.
As they came towards me, the little girl veered towards an embankment and a little path which led down a hill.
Excitedly, she turned and said to her mum "watch me, watch me".
However, when I looked, the mum was totally engrossed in her mobile phone and she looked like she was texting.
The little girl called to her mother again, asking her mum to go to the bottom of the path and catch her as she slid down the hill.
The mother, without speaking to the child or looking at her, walked past her and down the pathway.
At the bottom, she stood, head down, still texting, totally oblivious to her daughter.
I thought it was such a pity that the little girl was having to fight against a mobile phone for her mother's attention.
That night, I was snuggled up on the sofa with my own daughter who was telling me about her day at creche.
While we were sitting, I heard a text message come in but as I went to lift the phone I was reminded of that day's events.
So I put the phone down and listened intently to Abbie's colourful tale which involved a slide, painting and a princess dress.
It's funny, isn't it, how easily technology has connected us yet how easily it could drive us apart - if we're not careful.
Is anyone else finding it hard to believe that Queen of Pop, Kylie Minogue is 50?
How did that happen?
I was really pleased this week to see images of the Spinning Around singer looking sensational in a gold floor-length gown and metallic heels surrounded by gold balloons as she threw a lavish party to celebrate the half decade milestone.
It's great to see her having fun following her diagnosis with breast cancer in 2005 and then her recent heartbreak following a split from her fiancé.
Now, she's looking fab at 50 and even has a new beau.
Happy Birthday Kylie. Here's to many more.
Summer's here and what better way to celebrate than with some outdoor yee-haw.
It's time to grab your stetson because Country Comes To The City is returning to Derry this month and I have three pairs of tickets for the event to give away.
Music and jiving fans will be delighted that Lisa McHugh, Mike Denver and Michael English will be topping the bill for the family friendly party at Ebrington Square on Saturday, June 30.
Ivan Parkhill, Chairman of the Country Comes to City festival committee, said more than 5,000 people were expected at this year's event, which is sponsored by The IMAC Group, due to the "high calibre of artists" performing.
Tickets for Country Comes to City cost £20 are available from www.millenniumforum.co.uk or by calling 028 71264455.
I have three pairs of tickets to give away.
If you fancy winning a pair, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, June 5, 2018
(Q) In which Northern Ireland city is Country Comes To The City taking place?
Normal Irish News Rules Apply
The winners of the Oliver Loving competition are Rita Henderson from Derry, Emma Brown from Derry, Erin Mulligan from Belfast, Marian Doran from Omagh and John McCloskey from Drumahoe.