Recently I have become more sensitive to the sad reality of how technology, while providing me with much appreciated advantages, is also robbing me of much more than what I get in return.
I am certainly not the first to bring this up and I know it can spark much worthy debate. I love technology as much as the next person and I do appreciate having it on hand.
We could discuss the upside of holding mini computers giving us instant access to pretty much anyone and anything, but this is not about that. It’s mostly just a conversation starter about something else.
While our smart phones and tablets allow us to be instantly aware of what is going on in the world, not to mention who is eating what and where, they are also stripping us of our ability to be connected with what is going on around us, right here and right now.
I’m not saying we should stop using our phones and various screens but I am convinced that many of us are in need of some serious re-assessment of how much and for what purpose we use them. Mostly though, we need to take a step back and have an honest look at everything we are missing out on while we’re busy looking at the latest text, tweet, Instagram, snapchat, Facebook, email, sports update, news report, ect. And for what exactly?
How much have I really gained reading the Facebook status update of a long lost friend (God bless them) when in the process I miss what is taking place right in front of my eyes in the lives of those with whom I actually am doing life with!
“Sorry son, I missed that great move you made. I was reading what one of my college buddies I haven’t seen in 16 years was having for lunch.”
“Yes. Hmm.” I say, nodding my head, half listening, while my daughter tells me about her day.
“Yes honey, I know you’ve got a lot going on right now but if you could just let me get to this text message and I’ll be right with you,” I tell my wife hoping I’ll also have time to squeeze in a short clash royale battle.
I’m not suggesting we get rid of Facebook or stop following long lost friends. No. I think it’s pretty cool that we can stay ‘in touch’ that way and I have discovered some pretty good eating spots thanks to Facebook updates. But let’s face it, while it’s great to be informed about what our friends are doing and what is going on in the world, it is not always very significant information for us in the moment.
We’re addicted and we can’t stop. It’s like our screens are mini masters holding us with an invisible chain. We’re their slaves. It’s almost as though we can here our screens talking to us : « Look at me. Touch me. Don’t put me down. Bring me with you. Don’t look up. Just one more minute. Never mind them, look at everything I can do for you. Please hold me. Take me with you. Don’t let me go. »
It’s a challenge. It’s hard enough to set limits and clear guidelines for our own use as adults. Multiply that by 100 when trying to set limits for kids who think their screens are the best thing in the world.
If there’s ever to be a zombie apocalypse, I would say this is pretty darn close to being it. Maybe we need Daryl to put an arrow through some of our screens.
I’m generalizing and exaggerating but some re-thinking needs to happen. If my smartphone or any other screen is a thief robbing me of precious moments in my day to day life, I want to keep it in check.
Here are a few simple steps I have taken to help myself: 1) at home I leave my phone somewhere I can’t see it all the time or be drawn to it every second; 2) I don’t feel obligated to reply to text messages and emails right away; 3) I’ve started reading real books (the paper kind) again; 4) on the bus ride home, if I’m using my phone it is to listen to something and I keep it in my pocket to reduce screen staring.
What about your screen time? What precious moments are you being robbed of? What limits have you set in order to avoid the trap of excessive screen gazing at the expense of true connectedness? Is there something worth thinking about here or am I just rambling?