Last week I attended a couple end-of-school-year events. They were fairly typical, lasting about an hour and a half each. I was disappointed at the number of “smart phones” I saw in hands during the event. And before you say something about “these kids today” I am talking about the parents.
I saw one father dutifully saving the world by killing an attacking horde of zombies and two mothers in front of me scrolling through texts and doing some online shopping. I won’t bother to mention the school because I’m sure it goes on everywhere. In fairness, many parents had their phones out to take pictures. Mobile phones have almost replaced point-and-shoot cameras for this.
I recently saw a very ironic video on YouTube called “Look Up” by Gary Turk that talked about everything we miss when we spend all of our time on our phones or on “social media” that is really anything but social. We don’t interact with people around us or get out and live our lives because we are spending all of our time online.
A couple relevant quotes from the video:
“We are surrounded by children who, since they were born, have seen us living like robots and think it’s the norm.”
“You’re not likely to make world’s greatest dad, if you can’t entertain a child without an iPad.”
The video gets high marks from me for the Seussian rhyming, by the way.
The same day I saw the video, my smart phone locked up and I couldn’t use it for anything until the next morning when I took it to the store. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me. In fact, the brief break from my phone gave me some time to think. Watching those parents who were too preoccupied with their phones to dedicate an hour and a half to their kids drove the feeling home.
I won’t be giving up my smart phone or social media. Like them or not, they are part of our lives; they are how we stay in touch with friends and are tools to do business. I use both to promote my books and contact people for articles, for example.
Still, I am being much more intentional about how I use my phone, especially in front of my daughters. I want to set a good example for my children and I’m worried about what I might miss in my real life when I am being “social” with a machine..