Electronics, phones toys, and even e-readers….batteries, cords, and rechargers seem to be a part of every part of our lives!
Simple life? Today’s world features all kinds of electronics that steal us from family and friends. These plug-in devices capture our full attention, even while waiting in the emergency room at the hospital. Without getting too philosophical, I do wonder just what we have become.
As I waited with my Dad in the ER, I looked around at the full waiting room. Dozens of people filled the large room. Most were either focused on a cell phone or too sick to be able to. People waiting with ill family members were texting or scrolling, oblivious to the sick person with them. Years ago, magazines helped fill the time. However, even with those, most would talk with family and ensure their comfort.
Inconsiderate or insensitive? Maybe. But possibly just distracted. Electronics grab our attention and hold tightly. One study shows that more than half of today’s 7-year-olds own a cell phone. At an age when they need to continue learning to read people’s expressions, body language, and emotions, our young elementary age children often focus on a cell phone or other electronic. Where did our simple life disappear?
As a people watcher, I tend to notice people’s interactions, too. In a restaurant, people used to talk, laugh, discuss, and usually enjoy the camaraderie as much as the food. Now, even couples and families are often in their own cell phone world. Take a photo of your food. Post on Instagram and Facebook. Continue scrolling. Text a friend and let them know who you are with. But are you truly with the people at your table? Maybe not.
Our social lives often revolve around these electronic devices. We may chat with people we’ve never met more than our own families. How does this affect who we are as individuals and society? What effect will it have on our children as they mature?
Many people feel isolated and lonely, even though they connect with others digitally. This type of social life cannot compare to that of in-person. We need to speak with others, face-to-face. We crave that type of connection. And yet, many avoid it.
Simple life….gone forever?
While we might blame electronics, we need to realize they are but inanimate objects. Rather, look to lifestyle. Instead of giving a 6-year-old a cell phone, perhaps a few early reader books might prove a better choice. You might choose to have a video game system but limit its use to one time a week.
However, it’s not all about what you don’t have, but rather what you do. A $1 flying disc provides hours of entertainment and interaction. Other lawn games may, as well. Board games, a long-time favorite indoor activity, encourage interaction between friends and family.
I’m an optimistic realist. I believe people will begin to see the need for the good old-fashioned simple life. Moreover, I believe that once they do, people will be encouraged to continue. By putting aside electronics for most of the day, people experience that comfort and satisfaction that our electronics cannot provide.
Try limiting your electronic time for a week. Maybe set time limits for the entire family. Find some people activities you enjoy. And let us know how it works for you!