Living during the time that technology is leading the way in everything, it is hard to realize when instead of doing good, technology is doing harm. Think back to when you were younger; did you always have everything at your fingertips? Did you rely on technology to get you from point a to point b? Did you actually have conversations with people more regularly? How about writing a letter, or a thank you note? When is the last time you did any of these things without relying on your technological devices?
I am not saying technology is a bad thing. Please, don’t misunderstand. I am saying that technology has definitely made things a lot easier and faster to access; however, it has also caused a great divide in society. Do not get me wrong, I love my GPS, because without it, I would never get anywhere new. Nor, would I be able to look up something I did not know what it was, without the easy access of Google on my smartphone. I do find it unnerving when I am out to dinner without someone, and they cannot put down their phone long enough to seem interested in the world around them. I also find it offensive when someone is checking out at a market or anywhere, and doesn’t put down their phone to give the greeting of “Hello” to their cashier, or server.
I find this use of connecting with anything, or anyone at any time amazing, and rude. I feel as if you do not have the time to treat your server like a person, who is helping you; you should not be there. If you cannot grace someone who asks how your day is with nothing other than a smile, because you are too busy on the phone, you should have waited to complete the task when you were not on the phone. Not only is technology making us forget our manners, but it is causing a lack in social skills for the younger generation. I have seen groups of teenagers out in public, all on cell phones, not even looking or talking to one another, because they are all focused on their handheld devices. They are not being social at all.
Not only does this technology affect social skills of the younger generation, but the relationships of the older ones.
When is the last time you actually called someone in your family? I know for one, my grandmother does not text. I call her at least once a day to check in and say hi. I communicate with her. When is the last time you called your husband/wife/significant other/parent/siblings for a check in? Not a text or an e-mail, but an actual phone call? How many of you have been guilty of sitting in a room with your S.O., only to have yourself, them, or both of you, on a cell phone, laptop, or both for hours without saying a word? I have. I am guilty of this.
I am guilty of going to bed and picking up my cell phone to check Facebook, instead of focusing my attention to my boyfriend. I am seeing how everyone else’s day has been, but have I even asked him? Not only are we staying more focused on other’s lives than our own, but we are taking away the intimacy of relationships as a whole. When is the last time you went to bed without a cell phone, laptop, tablet, e-reader, or even TV? Do you remember? I don’t…. Think back to when you did go to bed without these devices – did you actually spend time talking to your S.O. about their day? Your plans for the future? The grocery bill? Anything? Did you actually talk to one another, other than saying goodnight and going to sleep after catching up on all of your RSS feeds?
I am not pointing fingers by any means; I am just as guilty as anyone else. I wake up, I check my text messages, I check Facebook, and then I check my e-mail, news sites, and other miscellaneous things that may catch my eye, all before even getting out of bed. I do not know the last time I wrote an actual letter, or a thank you note. I do know I have texted many thank you’s and invitations. But, an actual paper letter, sending via *gasp* the U.S. Mail?! Lunacy! It’s really not. It is the way our ancestors did it, and it is a personal touch that most of us never really get or give anymore.
So this new year, 2015, the year technology grows and increases the ease of our lives, I also challenge you to put down the technology. Put it down! That’s right, put down the cell phone, put up the laptop, iPod, e-reader, handheld gaming device, or systems you may have, put it down. Face someone in your life and talk to them. Write them a letter. Play a board game! Do something together that does not include technology, but each other. Read a paper book. Write an actual letter. Get down to basics in life.
If you accept my challenge, please keep me up to date on the things you have rediscovered that you enjoy, or even a new hobby that you enjoy. I have added a reading list, a walking group, and date nights with friends. These are the things I have found time for. What will you find time for?