Disclaimer: This post is probably going to cheese-off a few folks. Good. It’s my opinion and you are welcome to share it or reject it. Now on with the show…
Scrolling Facebook this morning (aka, “procrastinating”), I ran across a post from Sun Gazing (all cartoons below are from their page), a site known for both its inspirational and amusing updates. Today’s offering really struck a nerve. It is a series of cartoons depicting how social media and personal technology have taken over our lives, and not for the better. I know what I do for a living is teach children how to use tech as a tool, but it is just that: a tool. It should never be a substitute for spending real time in real conversation…or even just silence with someone. Don’t get me wrong; I can be just as guilty as the next person of spending too much of my free time looking for DIY ideas to save to my Pinterest boards, sharing cat videos or obnoxiously delicious looking recipes on Facebook, and on occasion, Tweeting what I’m up to professionally or Instagramming that iPhone shot that took my breath away. But I find I grow more and more resentful of the blasted smart phone. Admittedly I would not be as efficient in my job without it (“Ding!” Text from the 3rd floor while I’m on the playground outside and not in my Lab which is on the 2nd floor, telling me the internet has gone kerput again). It is even a wonder tool for the boys to shoot me messages quickly (out of toilet paper…again…) or a photo from their first day on campus.
However, I find the hairs on my neck start to stand up when I’m talking with someone..anyone…and their phone starts to ding or whistle or sing AND THEY ANSWER IT!! If in the middle of our conversation (or non-conversation as it may be), church, movies, dinner, your child’s play, you name it, your phone goes off and you check it, I’m going to get annoyed. At least turn off the ringer! Notifications from apps (your turn to play Trivia Crack or check your 500th “like” on your photo) make me nuts, although I was grateful for banking notifications when my card was hacked and used, meaning we were able to block, report, and change security within minutes of the card being used. Beats the crap I had to go through 20 odd years ago when my checkbook was stolen! But I digress. I’ve got a gazillion notifications on my phone for dates, times, and the damned ones for Facebook that I can never tweak enough to just give me the few things I care about (thanks for changing your settings so frequently Facebook!). I find it amusing though that some folks feel the need to point out to me that my phone has just dinged; I know. I’m ignoring it.
Personally, when someone whips out his/her phone at dinner, during a movie, while we’re chatting face to face, I often feel second best. If watching that adorbs cat video or checking the scores is more interesting than the person/people you’re with then:
- That someone is apparently boring, or
- That someone is boring because they’re sick of looking at the top of your head bent over a phone and quit trying to share anything interesting, or
- You’re just being rude as f&#*.
Think about it, when someone left your life (death, moved, changed jobs, got fed up with you), did you regret not checking Facebook or playing an app while with them more often? Or…did you regret not taking a walk, hearing their voice, or telling them how much they meant to you every chance you had? That’s what I thought…
However, I can be just as guilty as the next guy of these same transgressions. Every. Last. One of them. So don’t go getting your knickers all in a twist that I’m bashing everyone else except me; I’m just not afraid to vent my frustration and vow to work harder at being more considerate. And…if you think my mind is wandering elsewhere or I keep glancing at my phone when I’m with you, tell me! I’d rather be called to the carpet and perhaps a bit embarrassed for a moment, than risk not hearing the excitement in your voice when you tell me about the amazing story you just heard from a new friend or watched the most incredible sunset with a friend. So here is what I propose, and these are nothing original, but perhaps if we keep hearing and seeing that too much of a good thing can be bad for you, then perhaps we’ll start changing some of these “instant gratification” and “attention span of a flea” behaviors we’ve picked up. Please share your own pet peeves or suggestions for what to do instead of checking your “Likes”. I’d love to hear from you!
Put the phone down at meals. Period. No one likes feeling as if they have to compete for your attention.
“Together” doesn’t exactly mean “in the same air space”. Do something together, even if that something is watching a movie while piled on top of each other on the couch. And for goodness sake, don’t do a Four Square check in from living room!
Talk about it, or experience it? The choice is yours.
Fine. Snap a picture. But upload it later and get back to being in awe of what you’re seeing.
Ok, I’ll concede this one.
Again, I hope I’ve touched a nerve, and I’d love to have you comment on this.