Posted by: Shara | June 22, 2011

Connected

Connected

People

Connected

Breathing

When I talk about being connected, I mean in the worldly, global-view sense.  In books, magazines, and publications, connected is the texting, social networking, instant computer (and often video) chat craze.  Connected in the literary world is what I call “wired.”  It’s about everyone having to be connected to at least one other person 24/7, according to all the books that I read summaries from.

Privacy is becoming a thing of the past.  While some people would say that all of this shared life involvement is bringing us closer together, I say that it’s drawing us further apart.  Let me give some common examples that I have seen in more than one place.

If a woman can be walking down the street and not see a manhole cover missing because she is texting, I hope it was an interesting story coming through!  She fell down the hole, and didn’t notice the gaping space before her feet.  Everyone I have seen that walks and texts looks down!  I would like to point out another interesting factor to this.  Do you think that she would see a friend walking down the street, let alone the needy man on the side of road?

My daughter wanted to talk to her cousin ( my niece), but she was busy on her phone.  When she finally got the other girls’ attention, my niece said, “Do you want to hear a joke?”  My daughter nodded the affirmative, and my niece started texting.  My daughter’s phone rang, she looked down, and started laughing!  Her friends share pictures by emailing them, they don’t even share the phone that it’s on long enough for a look!  Sitting next to each other, or in the same room, they text.  Where is the art of human conversation?

I am also on Facebook with my daughter.  Yes, I was one of those mothers who told her that if she wanted to be on there, then I was going to be on her friends’ list.  I don’t embarrass her on there, but I DO watch what comes through on her page.  Even while these kids are posting on there, which means they are on a computer or a phone, they always whine about having nothing to do!  I wonder what would happen if they weeded the garden, laid outside to look at the clouds, or read a book!

There was another time that a much younger acquaintance and I were talking momentarily.  (We were working on a project together.)  She looked at her phone, looked at me, (even though the allotted time for our meeting was not over yet), and said, “If it’s ok, could you just email that story to me?  I’ll just read it later and see if we can use it.”  What was the problem with meeting in person?  I actually had makeup on that day to lessen the scariness of me!

There is a time and place for everything.  My daughter’s best friend is now in England, and if it wasn’t for the technology we have now, she would be paying out her ear to keep in contact via airmail or outrageous oversea rates.  I keep in touch with all of my extended family, some in Hawaii, through the internet.

But the time and place for being wired is NOT on the freeway!  Telling your bff about your date last night can WAIT!  So can gossiping about who is getting divorced!  It is NOT at a party, where there are so many people to get to know instead of typing on your phone to anyone who is not there… just because they aren’t.

This trend doesn’t just disconnect us from each other.  It increases our stresses as we are expected to multitask, even at a grocery store, plus the clerk thinks it rude when he is trying to help get us out of there faster.  Do we really need to increase what we do with our lives, instead of taking time to breathe and notice the sunset?  We originally created all of these nifty gadgets to help make our lives easier.

This is not going to be a popular post.  As a matter of fact, I can see it making some people quite angry.  I do not wish for that.  I am simply trying to help some people notice, and THINK, about what makes it so that we never turn the lights off.

This summer, the challenge, even for us adults, is to take a full 48 hours off from the multitude of screens!  (Warn your family and friends, and yes, plan for an emergency.)  Shut off the computers, take a vacation without your phone, leave the wired life behind.  Ok, can’t do 48?  How about 24?  Go out to lunch with a friend while both of you have your phones off.  Talk to your kids without radio or phones in the car.  Do something to take your life back!  You’ll live longer!  (There are studies that show this to be true.  Something about needing to meditate and BREATHE.)

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