Thursday, May 12, 2011

Technoliday...Do we all need one?

So last night my wife and I were getting ready for dinner. I mention I would like to see what is on TV so I sit down at the laptop she was working on in the kitchen, log in to Facebook and start reading. I then get up to do some things at the stove and she asks "so when did checking what is on TV equal logging into facebook?

I froze and thought, TV. I wanted to see what was on TV!!!! Why did I log into facebook. She then floated that we may need to put a stop to all the time we get sucked out of life with these types of things.

I immediately say, "oh it is not that bad." Then 10 minute later, was downstairs with my laptop open, my XBOX on (playing Black Ops online if it must be known), with my cell phone next to me, while she streamed a show on the desktop and I started thinking...SHE IS RIGHT.

Now, before you all send this to my wife and she prints it for use later in life, I should preface this by saying, my wife is at genius level intelligence. Literally, not like oh she is genius, but like super smart and has amazing art abilities. If this were Italy during the Renaissance, she would be hanging with DiVinci asking what is up with the dead body in the other room. So, for her to be right is not really an odd occurrence, but pretty much an everyday occurrence at our home.

Now, as I moved on from quietly mulling this over and on my 40th game of bejeweled on Facebook, I start thinking...What could I gave done in the last 40 minutes if I was not sitting with a computer in my lap. At very least, I could have sat with Deena and watched TV.

So now, about 13 hours later (8:15 AM EDT for those who need details), I sit thinking what would i be able to give up and what kind of sense of emotional, psychological, and physical pain would it cause me and do I really feel I can do it? I know, many people realize my ability to cut FB or email out of my life is almost impossible, but I think I could do it. The problem is, can I cut it out and then come back to a less frequent usage and not have a sense of loss for the time I have given it in my life.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Facebook or technology all of a sudden, I am just realizing how much communication I do only digital and how little in person I do and wondering how healthy that is?

As a youth director for UDLC, I am constantly saying "ok, cell phones away." or "Please stop texting" or "if I see that again I will hold it till we are done" and in the past this was just for texting, but now it is facebook updates, tweets, games, photos, video streaming, and music. I mean these young people have what Star Trek was only dreaming of in the 1960's. Yet, I know the technology is important and to them is the umbilical cord to their social lives, but I ask how healthy is it?

* How healthy is it when we read about people texting up to a housemate, spouse, or child on the upper level of a house or the same floor asking them to do something.

* How healthy is it that youth spend more time relating over facebook than carrying on real conversations?

* How healthy is it that youth and younger generations (and some older) now expect immediate satisfaction or information or answer because of Google or Bing or any Wikipedia?

* Why has it become so important to have to reach someone at anytime, anywhere, for anything? Why is leaving a message not good enough?

Now granted there are great things coming from online personalities. Reclusive people and introverts, may be able to express or share more in the written form and I mean who sends cards or notes anymore? People with communication challenges are able to be a part of an online community with everyone else, but is that also taking the burden from learning about their challenges easier for the masses?

I don't have answers, I just have more questions and follow ups. I just wonder if opening this dialogue and personal experiment may show how instead of only helped, how much technology and always being plugged in HINDERS us from each other and the world around us.

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