Connected or Disconnected? That is the Question!

shutterstock_140568448Last night I walked into a fine dining establishment and was shocked by what I saw. Couples, families, groups of friends sitting together at tables yet absorbed in different worlds, each staring into the device of their choice, oblivious to the souls around them.

Last week I watched a 13 year old girl walk into a light post while texting.

Today a 6 year old boy stumbled onto the plane I was riding. His mom held him by one hand as he fumbled trying to play a game on some device he was holding in the other hand. The pilot of the plane greeted the boy. “Good morning son, thank you for riding on my plane.”  The boy never looked up or even acknowledged the pilot’s greeting.

He ignored a real pilot flying a real plane, perhaps because he was flying his own imaginary pixelated plane. His world didn’t require conversation, or interaction or common manners. How sad.

A guest in our home recently brought her “device” with her.  This beloved friend spent hours showing us her favorite YouTube videos. Reminded me of my childhood, when people would invite us to their home and show endless hours of home movies until I was begging my parents to shoot me.

Imagine someone back then bringing their television to your house and making you watch sitcoms they enjoy, or bringing ten photo albums and making you look at each picture until your fingernails itched.

The worst thing about all of this is that I often fall into the same trap. Join me for lunch and I confess that more than once my hands might twitch as if pulled by some unseen spirit toward my iPhone. We are constantly distracted from hearing the voice, looking into the eyes, touching the hand of a real “in-the-flesh” person as we stumble to respond to the incessant vibration, ding or obnoxious ring tone of a device. Is there anything more important than the real person we are with?

Wait… I feel the vibration!

 

  • Stock prices are up!
  • A Facebook friend just bungee jumped off the church steeple with a “gopro” attached to his ear!
  • One of the Kardashian’s broke a fingernail!
  • An e-mail!
  • A text!
  • Breaking news!

How did we live without this insanity? Quite well, thank you.

Technology has brought with it wonderful opportunity. When the name of the first movie with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart slips our mind, how amazing to have the answer at our fingertips. My grandchildren can notify me of their latest accomplishment. Diane can send a love note when I’m miles from home.

Yet how tragic if old movies are never discussed because there is no conversation. Or two people in love sit at lunch and never look at each other’s face because they are absorbed in another “face book” all together.

What have we lost because of such accessible technology?

  • Intimacy
  • Relationship
  • Communication Skills
  • Common respect
  • Human life (texting while driving)

I would like to hear your response to the second question…

What have we gained?
How do you manage your screen time? I would like to include your comments in a future post.
Will the next generation know how to build real-time personal relationships? 

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