save me! help! someone! anyone! we’ve become consumed in a 2d world only accessible via touch screen. oh, the horror!
we’ve all seen it: a group of folks out and about, engaging in their mobile devices rather than one another. i know, maybe one of them is looking up directions to the restaurant. maybe another is checking in on an ill friend or family member. and maybe another is jotting down a funny joke they want to later retell. OR maybe they’re all checking their social media profiles! did anyone like my picture, my status, my tweet? did everyone see where we just checked in? does the universe care about me at all?! okay, maybe i just got a little carried away there, but it seems to me that although we live in a nearly wireless world, people are more tethered to their devices than ever.
i may not be the oldest person in the room, but i did grow up without tablets and cell phones. and even though we did have gameboys and an n64, i spent most of my free time playing pretend outside with my best friend adam. it was a time when, after finishing my homework, i rode my bike to the neighbors’ and was told to be home by 6:30 for dinner. i was a child. i lived in the world that was in front of me, and i wouldn’t change one bit of it.
generally speaking i don’t have anything against technology. it has put the world at our fingertips, and the potential for discovery is boundless. i think it’s unreal, and almost unsettling, that google can nearly read my mind, knowing what i do and do not like, knowing where i am and where i’m going. and then i see one of those iphone commercials on tv that tells me i am stronger than i think, that i am capable of anything. it’s hard not to buy into it. i get it. but there are days, many days, when my phone buzzes and i just want to throw it out the window.
would i rather do without? of course not, but i truly believe you can have too much of a good thing. can i “justify” all my mobile devices? i can. my phone i certainly need. my tablet is a good thing to have, too. my ereader is supposed to be saving me money, although i’m currently reading a paperback novel…they all do serve a purpose, but i feel quite silly having them all with me at the same moment. how can i possibly pay each of them due attention? i really cannot. in certain moments they are a distraction and nuisance. i sometimes even get embarrassed when i’m on my phone in public. surely there’s something more interesting around me in which i could engage. surely!
my dad has an even stronger opinion about people and their devices. i was once in the car with him very early one morning, probably around six, and someone next to us was on their phone, deep in conversation. “who does this guy think he is, that he just has to be on a call this time of the day? is he really that important?” ah, good ‘ole milo. he even mocks us kids when we’re all home and on our phones at the same time. it’s quite humorous actually. but, i do think he has a point.
i’m not suggesting we go cold turkey with our smartphones and tablets and devices. can you imagine what would happen? the earth might implode! all i’m suggesting is that we be a bit more aware of how much time we spend with these things. i truly believe there is a time and a place. it’s your decision when you choose them to be.