My son was given the opportunity to make a wish. A wish of mommy and daddy that we would grant, within reason. His wish? That we used our phones a lot less. Talk about pulling at the heartstrings. Given the opportunity to choose a night out at the movies with us, shopping at Toys R Us, game night etc... he chose to ask us to put down our phones.
I am not at all shocked at his request. Our phones have become our lifelines, our mode of socializing, our way of staying connected. But in fact, by using this "appliance" to stay connected, I would say we are in fact losing all of our connections. There is something to be said for distraction free living. It is no wonder that stress levels in our society are at an all-time high and use of anti-depressants have peaked. We are constantly on alert. Our phones are no longer a way for us to communicate in case of emergency or for a casual conversation, they have become both a source of constant interruption, a source of stress and an excuse for not being in the moment.
Think that's not you? I would guess that in the last week you likely posted a picture of yourself on some form of social media sharing a glamorous moment. Or perhaps you shared a photo of a meal you had while with a friend instead of sharing the time with the friend. Or perhaps you Tweeted or Facebooked about something amazing that you did this weekend or that your significant other did for you.
For some reason, the use of devices has created a generation of egomaniacs where we feel each moment of our lives needs to be documented and shared for the world to see but most importantly admired and envied. I know I'm not alone when I say that I saw at least 50 pictures of people's scrumptious Turkeys from the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend that just passed. Remember when it was enough that you made that turkey and that your family and friends enjoyed it and that you all spent quality time together? Why is it that we now need all of these external validations from "friends" who really aren't friends but people that you likely haven't seen in over 20 years and didn't even like in the first place or in the case of twitter, have likely never met?
We have become a society of me me me. We think that people are looking admiringly at our lives and wishing us the best. Quite frankly, I beg to differ. I would say we are inspiring jealousy and dislike. There are many who sadly judge the quality of their lives by what they see on their timelines. The reality is that life is not ideal. It has its ups and downs but only the ups are portrayed on social media.
We now have to reflect on how this is going to impact our children. Will we have any right to say anything when we speak to them and they choose to text their friend at the same time? Our children learn from our actions and if they are learning that the latest gadget is more of a priority than they are, this will become part of their norm.
We need to spend less time connecting with our gadgets and more time connecting with the people we love. Stop missing the moments because you need to get that picture or video to share with your huge list of "friends". Be in the moment, savor the moment because when all is said and done, those moments turn into memories which is all we are really left with at the end of our lives. What better way to age than with a mind filled with beautiful memories?
So to my wise nine-year-old son who inspired this article, I hereby grant you your wish and promise to be in the moments with you and not on my device.
Mom, the wish granting genie.
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