First of all, I am not against technology. I LOVE my iPhone. The immense fear that comes over me when I tap my back pocket and don’t feel that familiar shape, although kind of ridiculous, is real ladies and gentlemen. Even having it in the other back pocket is off-putting. Our devices have become part of us, an integral role in our everyday lives. Is that a bad thing?
Raise your hand if you remember payphones?? Calling collect?? Hah! Funny to think about that stuff now as it seems so archaic. But it was not so long ago that was our reality. These days, it seems everyone is toting some form of personal device. It kind of begs the question are we substituting technology for real life?
On one hand, our personal devices offer an alternative to the possible awkward conversation with a stranger in line at the bank. Or give our brain something to do while we wait at the dentist’s office. But could these situations be opportunities missed? Sometimes the greatest (albeit sometimes the weirdest) conversations happen when I’m standing in line somewhere – grocery store, bank, DMV. There is definitely value in making connections with strangers in your town or neighborhood. Also, our brains could probably use some down time. We are constantly doing, doing, doing, thinking, thinking, thinking. It’s okay, and personally I think valuable, to take a minute to just sit. Take in your surroundings. Maybe meditate for a minute or just be mindful of your breathing. Does that sound weird? Listen to your body. Listen to your environment. If nothing else, it’ll save your battery.
On the other hand, the abilities provided by technology to stay in touch with our loved ones are invaluable. Facebook, Instagram, Skype, all of these things have made it possible for people to share their lives from state to state, even country to country (ugh. . .those time differences though). Watching babies grow, chatting with loved ones, being involved in the lives of those we cannot be near is such a wonderful ability. These are definitely opportunities gained. It makes our lives fuller, our world bigger and more accessible.
Is there a healthy medium? As with most things, I think moderation is key. Try not to be glued to the screen. If you’re going out to dinner with your husband or wife, maybe put it on vibrate. Or turn it off even. Sometimes I’ll look around in a restaurant and see couples sitting across from each other both staring into their phones. Makes me kind of sad. But then. . .who knows. . .maybe they’re texting each other.
I have a challenge for you. Try a tech-free day. One whole day with no TV, no cell phone, none of it. Just for one day. I’m going to try it this Saturday. Anyone else up for it? Maybe it’s something you’ve tried in the past, or even something you implement on a regular basis. Regardless, I would love to hear about your experience. If that is too much, and I get it, I’m not expecting this Saturday to be a piece of cake, maybe just try to be aware of the amount of time you spend on your device versus the amount of time you spend in your present environment. It may be eye-opening.
Or if you think this is just a bunch of hooey. . .let me know. I expect everyone to have their own opinions and I’m sure I haven’t covered all the possible ways personal technology is wonderful or taking over the world. I welcome and encourage your thoughts.