We have our laptops, our smart phones, our Kindles and Nooks, iPods and iPads.
Technology is often seen as being a way to connect with people: we can Skype with far away friends and relatives, chat on Facebook, find friends we haven’t seen in years.
We can hear in minute detail the daily happenings of near strangers.
But do these things which seem to make us close, actually make us more distant from one another?
I see families out to dinner, and each member is completely engaged with their own electronic device.
Moms and Dads are increasingly using electronics to entertain young children, even infants.
Friends stop mid-conversation to answer their phone, or laugh at a text. Couples on dates are not immune – when conversation lapses, smart phones come out.
Everyone, it seems, is plugged in.
I am a big user of technology. I operate a paperless office, I rely on email and text messages to communicate, I use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn on a daily basis.
I can also see firsthand the disappointed look on my child’s face when she says “watch me!” and I’m engrossed in yet another funny YouTube video.
When out with friends, I’m guilty of checking email. Constantly. And I’m beginning to really understand the mental and emotional barrier that a device the size of my hand can erect.
Technology, while seeming to connect us to one another and to the world, can do the exact opposite. Instead of engaging with the people we are with, we become distracted by a screen. Watch two people who are physically together but in their own electronic worlds, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m not one to reminisce about the good old days. I like my technology. It allows far away family members to watch my child grow up, it helps me to keep in contact with friends thousands of miles away.
I also realize that, like everything else in life, technology requires limits.
I don’t want my life to be a mess of ringtones, vibrations and pings. I don’t like feeling as if I’m obligated to be attached to my phone or computer every.single.minute of every day.
My life is calling out for balance. Is yours? Here are some things that can help:
As technology continues to evolve, we must evolve with it. And part of that means we need to be able to set our own limits on how we use it.
So go, shoo, get off your computer, put away your phone. Wake up. Life is waiting to be lived.
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From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: July 10, 2012 | World of Psychology (July 10, 2012)
Last reviewed: 7 Jul 2012