Not a good replacement

two dinner plates on square brown wooden bar table

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

So very much has been written about it. Even research studies launched about the effects of it.

You can use it to acquire all kinds of knowledge. You can use it for leisure activities. You can use it to conduct business, purchase items, save an image, learn the latest news, you name it. And we have convinced ourselves we can’t be without it.

Ever.

It must be clutched in our hands. And our eyes must be fixated on it. It’s the cell phone and it’s infiltrated our lives to the point where it truly has become an addiction, as gripping as the strongest drug out there, if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-technology. Technology is amazing. It can be life-saving; it has opened up new frontiers in so many fields of study. And it is good when it is used appropriately.

But just like everything else in this world, it depends on how you use it. Use it for the betterment of mankind? Great. Abuse it and go down dark alleyways that harm our fellow man? Terrible.

So how, you may ask, does the simple use of a cellphone do harm? We hear and read a lot about the breakdown of the family in our society. We see articles about the lack of communication even though we have the easiest form of interaction literally at our fingertips with texting on our cells and you can reach anyone anywhere on the cell phone.

Of course, there are a myriad of reasons why we are in this predicament in our society. Why families are falling apart. Why families don’t feel connected to one another even though they may live in the same house. Why we don’t interact verbally with one another in meaningful ways any more….or at all.

I don’t have the answers to these problems, but one thing is as clear to me as those photographic images I can take with my smart phone.

Those smart phones have made us not-so-smart.

Last week, I enjoyed a shopping trip with my daughter and granddaughter. We stopped for lunch at one of our favorite spots which happens to have an indoor play area for children. Of course, Little One wanted to play for a bit with another little girl who was there.

So I stayed at our table and minded the purses and jackets and sipped my unsweetened iced tea while Daughter and Little One entered the play area. I started doing what I usually do when I’m seated alone in a public place….I people watched.

And I got an eye full (although not what you may think) and the idea for this blog post. The restaurant wasn’t overly crowded yet as it usually is at lunchtime because we had decided to grab an early lunch. So in the area where our table was located and where I could view comfortably without turning around, there were approximately 15 people of all ages, including children and a couple of teens.

All of these folks were eating their lunches. None of them had laptops or briefcases with them, so I’m assuming none of them were taking “working lunches” especially at 11 am.

Looking straight ahead, I spied a person on her cell phone. Behind her a woman and two teens on their cells. Next to them, two more people, both on cells. At the next table, a man with eyes glued to his phone and earbuds in his ears. Next to him, a gray-haired couple…you guessed it… scrolling through their phones.

All of them – people of different ages – were so engrossed in their phones that they couldn’t be aware of anything happening around them.

Beside me, a family of four – husband, wife, and two children. The little girl looked to be about six years old or so and the boy probably was around nine or ten. Dad was on his phone while chomping away at his food. Mom too was captivated by her own cell. The boy, earbuds stuck in his ears,  had his cell propped up on the table watching a video. Only the little girl had no phone and she was chatting away….to herself.  All as they ate their lunch.

I wanted to yell, “Put away your darn phones and talk to your family!”

I shook my head to myself and thought no wonder families are falling apart, they don’t even talk to one another at lunch. They don’t pay attention to their kids because they are mesmerized by technology instead of communicating verbally with the human beings right there with them.

I glanced into the play area, waved to our Little One who was having fun playing hide and seek with the other little girl. But then I noticed another disturbing sight. My own daughter was sitting there, entranced in her cell.

What have we become? Humans with eyes only for our cell phones?? Since when is social media, videos, email, texting, whatever entices you to keep that phone in your hand and your eyes glued to its screen become more important than the people around you? The ones you love. The ones you should be spending time with, connecting, sharing, just talking over your day, your thoughts, your ideas. Enjoying the company of family and friends.

Out of those 15 or so people in my view, I saw two people (not including me) without a cell phone attached to their hands. Two human beings – a young man and a young woman probably in their late 20’s – were actually having a conversation. A real, live, face-to-face discussion over lunch. With no cell phones in sight.

Maybe there’s hope for us yet.

“Give the people in your life the gift of your presence by putting down your mobile device.” ~ Kate Northrup

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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22 responses

  1. The day before yesterday a conversation about technology addiction ended one of my friendships. That’s because this “friend” couldn’t put her phone down when she came to visit me and I finally told her it’s why I don’t talk to her much anymore. Not only that but she lives an hour away but we have only seen each other in person once in eight months. That was a little telling. It was me telling her she has a serious Facebook addiction when she can’t stop looking at it when we are across from each other that sent her over the edge, however. Alas, she chose technology over her friends and we won’t be communicating in person or on social media anymore. I’m fine with that because more and more I’ve been laying down my phone and being in the moment with those around me. I need to keep working on it (especially when I’m depressed and would rather avoid social interaction which only makes the depression worse). I find the more I cut it all out, though, the less anxious and more present I feel.

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    • It’s sad to think that technology can come between people, but it truly can! And just like any addiction, it seems that pointing that out to someone only makes them angry and defensive. You are very wise indeed to put the phone down and savor the moments and experiences around you. I bet there are studies out there that show that cell phone addiction actually increases anxiety and depression and causes even more isolation. I hope you do well. Be blessed, Lisa, be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am certainly guilty of turning to my cell phone more times than I should!! But I have found myself lately wishing there was a way to turn back the clocks a bit- and not have these obtrusive little contraptions in our hands at all times! I get so frustrated when I go to dinner with my husband and instead of actually talking to me about anything at all- he is scrolling through social media on his phone. Sure, it’s nice to have the convenience of being able to stay in better touch, on a near instantaneous basis… but even that can become a form of control. I often wish there was an easy way to ‘detox’ from all the electronics in our lives. Go back to actually talking to someone, sending that piece of ‘snail mail’ that just may brighten someone’s day, just a simpler time in many ways! Thanks for the thought provoking post!!🤔

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    • Yes, I do wish we could all ‘detox’ from the electronics. And now that my hubby has a smartphone, I’m catching him pulling it out and “looking something up” way too often. It’s invasive and addicting. Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment! Be blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG – I’ve had these same thoughts many, many times over the past few years. I just don’t “get” the appeal (I have a cell phone that I keep in my purse and use for emergencies only; half the time I forget to charge it!) I see people walking babies in strollers, dogs, etc. – all staring at their phones while they totally miss the scenery around them. I see (and HEAR) people in the grocery store, clothing store, restaurant (even the BATHROOMS) – all taking or staring into their phones. WHY? What is so danged important / interesting that it’s more important / interesting than the people you are with or the environment around you? I “got it” when cell phones were PHONES only (especially as public pay phones began disappearing), but as “full enabled digital devices”, they’re (IMO) turning out to be the ruination of our society (“connectedness” be damned – they pull people APART rather than bringing them together). It’s shocking and sad (and, unfortunately, I see no end to it. SIGH!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree!!!! The detriment I see because of them just makes me sick. When a cell phone becomes more important than actually communicating with someone face to face, looking at them, for goodness sake actually touching someone with a kind hug or look, etc., we are a sick society! What infuriated me most was seeing parents AND grandparents at a big park and playground last weekend staring at and scrolling through their cells instead of playing, interacting, and enjoying their children. And I agree totally with you, we are not connected, we are becoming more and more disconnected!

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      • I worry that some child will wander off or “disappear” while their caregiver is “too busy” with their phone to be paying attention. When I’m with my granddaughter (or anyone, for that matter), I’m 100% engaged with them. Does the “next generation” have any idea how much they’re missing?!?!?

        Liked by 2 people

      • That makes my stomach churn too. People cannot possibly be aware of their surroundings or what’s happening around them (especially with their children) when their attention is devoted to that little screen. They are missing so VERY much! But I don’t think they even realize it.

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  4. Well said. I saw the same thing on Sunday morning at church breakfast. 4 teens shoulder to shoulder engrossed in their cells. I wonder at another possible fallout. Folks need live interaction, shown affection by touch or smile. Spiritual and physical encouragement (other than abuse and rage. . . which is so sadly increasing). We were created to love, not become automated unthinking, uncaring people. In a sense it might be true that there are emotional ‘zombies’ among us. Sigh. All the more reason to “Hold out your Candle”🎶

    Liked by 2 people

  5. And of course there’s the issue of distracted driving. I recently read the percentage of drivers who are estimated to be using their phones while at the wheel. I can’t remember either the percentage or where I came across it, but it was terrifying.

    I’ve found the perfect solution, for myself. I don’t have a smart phone. My little flip phone makes calls, and does have a few nice features, like an alarm. I can receive texts if someone insists, but I don’t text back — I’ll either call or email, under most circumstances. Both my customers and my friends and family have adjusted, and I function relatively well. Of course there are things “everyone” does that I can’t do, but I can’t remember what they are just now!

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    • It’s so disturbing, isn’t it?? While traveling this weekend out of state, I actually saw signs by the highway that said “Eyes on the road.” Honestly, what have we become when our cell phones are the most important things in our lives? I only use mine for calls and texting but never while driving.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am guilty as well and really try to be aware of overuse but it slips in. Your observations are spot on–it is the accepted way in society today to be super attached and connected at all times. I guess there is definitely a time and place and your post made me realize I need to be more aware. Thank you!

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    • I wrote and scheduled this post at the beginning of last week because we were going to be away over Easter weekend. But what really drove this home for me was while we were away, our family took our granddaughter to a big park with a playground. I cannot tell you how many people I saw sitting with eyes glued to cell phones while their children played. The message to those children is that the cell is more important than they are. The one that really frosted me was seeing two grandparents with two grandchildren and…you guessed it the granny & gramps were on their cells!!! Really????!!! Made my blood boil! 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • Imagine being at a playground and a child saying “mommy! Look at me!” and the parent saying “mmmhmmmm…” but never looking up to actually see what the child is doing. I’ve seen that so many times. The next time that parent looks up their kid is going to be getting in a car to drive off to college.

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      • Exactly! And I witnessed that. A little boy had climbed up an apparatus at the playground and called to his dad. The dad looked up from his phone ever so briefly, nodded, and went straight back to the cell. Some day I think there are going to be a lot of regrets.

        Liked by 1 person

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