As I was out to eat with my sister on Saturday evening, I realized the table across from us had four people who all had their phones out and one of them even appeared to be watching something on her I-pad. Everyone appeared to be completely preoccupied and actual conversation was nonexistent. It was incredibly odd to witness. My sister and I looked at each other and had the same reaction, “Is this for real?”
I got my first smart phone just a few months ago. I had an archaic phone for the longest time simply because I couldn’t afford anything better. I rarely checked my phone, especially when I was with my family. The people who contacted me the most were with me so having my phone by my side at all times just wasn’t necessary. I never once felt like I was missing out on what was going on with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc. I was on my laptop most of the day anyways and had no use for having a phone that offered all these things and more right at my fingertips.
When I could no longer fully decipher what the person on the other end of the line was saying due to static, stopped getting missed calls, and would receive texts several hours after they had been sent, it seemed as though the inevitable had finally come. I bought a smart phone. And ashamed as I am to say it, I was hooked. Suddenly I had something to do while waiting in line at the grocery store and could respond to emails just seconds after receiving them. I could read blogs and check out the news on Twitter before I even got out of bed. My phone never left my side. I remember hating being out with friends and having someone be preoccupied with their phone and now I was the guilty party.
I realized that my parents weren’t immune either. I often think most of our communication breakdowns are because crucial things are said between moves on Candy Crush. No one talks to each other anymore in the evenings. The TV couldn’t even occupy anyone’s attention.
I’m sure you’ve seen the “Look Up” video on YouTube that has gotten over 41.5 million hits. Of course, as with everything, this video has sparked debate on both sides. However, I personally know that I can’t argue with the fact that I text while I talk and don’t give the person in front of me 100% of my attention all the time. The last few lines of this spoken word film are the ones that I identify most with:
I’m guilty too of being part of this machine,
This digital world, we are heard but not seen.
Where we type as we talk, and we read as we chat
Where we spend hours together without making eye contact
So don’t give into a life where you follow the hype
Give people your love, don’t give them your ‘like’
Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined
Go out into the world, leave distractions behind.
So my goal for this week is to leave my phone at home when I go out with others, start up a conversation while in line at the grocery store, only check texts when I’m not in conversation, and to simply look up.
Happy Monday! I hope you have a great week!