In this modern era, we’re more connected than ever. We have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and numerous other platforms that allow us to know what each person is doing throughout their day. Yet, we’re less engaged than ever. We’ve losing the art of the face-to-face conversation. Parents are managing behavior issues by plopping technology in front of their kids. We forget the human element of showing and feeling emotions when we’re hidden behind a computer screen. With more and more tech platforms, we are more and more distracted from the world around us, which can be disheartening and downright dangerous.
We use our cell phones for everything, from texting to getting directions to ordering food. We bring these activities into the car with us. While you are driving down the highway, take a look around and you will see your fellow drivers texting, scrolling through social media and waving their hands in the air as they talk to someone on the other end of their phone. Many states now have laws banning texting and other distractions while driving. However, driving accidents still occur, resulting in injuries, lawsuits and even death. In 2015, more than 3400 people were killed due to distracted driving and 391,000 were injured. A simple text message may seem like an inconsequential distraction, but it is estimated that one text will keep your eyes off the road for at least five seconds. When you are traveling at high speeds, five seconds is plenty of time to alter your life and the lives of those around you.
Dinner time use to be a set meal time where families would gather around the dinner table and share their day with each other. Now, dinner is often characterized by fast food and eating in front of the TV or with everyone’s heads down, absorbed in the happenings on their phones. Cell phone usage can cause feelings of neglect and an overall lack of communication, which is ironic considering their primary purpose is to improve communications and connectedness.
Families and couples will benefit from establishing technology free zones that promote building relationships and creating open communication. This designated time or place will serve as a predetermined moment to share yourself in an intimate way rather than in photos or captions online. This also allows children to witness parents engaging in positive communication, which can filter into their children’s interactions with peers.
Technology should be helping us, not hurting us. We should be using the plethora of technology tools to make our lives easier and more efficient, so we can spend more time enjoying the true meaning of life: friends and family. Instead of turning to technology as an escape from our problems or mundane moments, we should be leveraging its power by getting our work and personal life organized. Ultimately, the goal should be to enjoy and experience life rather than living in a virtual world, removed from each other emotionally and physically.