It’s hard to picture life without being connected; connected to the internet, phones, something… anything. In today’s society, our culture has become one of relationships as “friends on Facebook” instead of friends in real life. A culture in which people drive ten miles per hour slower on the highway because they are chatting it up while driving. But as with everything there are two sides to the story.
Technology has made my life so much simpler in many ways. I can’t imagine trying to keep a household as a wife and soon to be mother without my smart phone. I no longer need to break out a cookbook when I’ve got Google, or if I need to know how to hem my husband’s pants I just turn to YouTube. My husband and I have very full schedules and being able to look at each other’s calendars and coordinate between one another has made things so much easier for us. I often say that I can rule to world with my iPhone and in many ways that’s true. I can shop with my phone, video call my parents who live out of state, check my back statements – even deposit checks with my phone.
But this dependency comes with a cost. I find that so much of my day is wasted checking my email or before I know it I’ve spent 45 minutes on Facebook instead of getting my homework done. I believe the need for connectedness is a human characteristic – we are interdependent creatures. But the only way to fulfill that need is by actual human interaction. People spend a lot of time online trying to get that need met but it comes up short because a keyboard and a screen can never replace getting coffee with a friend. As much as I “Tango” (video chat) with my Dad I still miss him terribly because it can never replace that time we spend just driving in a car down the road talking about nothing or not talking at all.
I think it’s time to get back to the basics. When you are at lunch with someone, turn your phone off and actually have lunch with them. When you are on Facebook, don’t post about the temperature or your latest frustration, post something thought provoking that engages people and helps them get to know you better. Let’s put technology back in its place – behind people in our lives.