I don’t normally post rants – my blog tends to be more about the Happy – but this has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. As a mom of a 4-year-old child who is growing up in what is undoubtedly the age of information, I have concerns about her becoming attached to her devices instead of people.
It may seem strange that, as a blogger, I have such strong feelings of dislike for our overuse of technology. After all, the success of my blog is dependent upon people using technology.
Nevertheless, it disturbs me to look around and see so many people ignoring the world, the people, around them in order to check their phones, tablets, watches, and whatnot.
Recently I was watching Disney Jr., as you do when you have a 4-year-old, and a commercial came on. Maybe you’ve seen it.
In this commercial are 2 young boys, dressed like pirates. They’re telling their dog to walk the plank, arguing with each other about whether or not to fire the cannons. It’s adorable. It reminded me of my sister and I on road trips playing submarine and explorer, pretending the back of our parents’ head rests were view finders and the people in the other cars were enemies.
Then, it all went to hell.
The little boys in the commercial stopped playing. They took out their tablet and started staring at a screen, playing a game where all the parameters were set for them. All the visuals were given to them. All the choices were pre-planned by a committee of animators and educational specialists. There was no more using their imagination. No more talking, other than arguing over who got to hold the shiny box of light next.
There are other commercials like this, too.
The car commercial that shows boisterous young people singing and playing in the back seat of the car, then implies that the other car with built in wifi (and zoned out kids) is superior.
The phone commercial that starts out by pointing out how rude it is to be constantly checking your phone instead of paying attention to your dinner date, your meeting, your child’s dance recital. I actually thought this was great… until they continued to say that they, the altruistic cell phone company, have created a way to check your phone without everyone around you knowing it. Ugh!
It’s not that I have anything against technology as a whole. I have a blog, for heaven’s sake! But if you are, at this moment, reading this blog at the dinner table (with other people), in a meeting, or at an event for your kids, stop. Just, stop.
I don’t want you to read my blog at the expense of real-life relationships.
If you’re one of those people who can’t make it through an hour-long meal with your partner without checking your phone, don’t be surprised if your date isn’t there when you finally look up from your phone.
If you put your child off when she’s asking you to play so that you can check your Facebook feed, you’re setting yourself up for a genuine “Cats in the Cradle” situation.
And, for the love of all that is good and decent, if you are one of the many people checking Twitter, Facebook, or texting while you’re driving… well, you’re an asshole and you need to stop before you kill someone.
There’s nothing wrong with technology. Choosing technology over people is wrong. Ignoring those around you in favor of those in the virtual world is wrong. And companies that perpetuate the need to do so are just. plain. wrong.