No, this isn’t another article about the dangers of texting and driving.
We can’t ignore the startling reality that our children are growing up faced with the lure of ever-expanding technology. It seems some of our teenagers are living half (or less) of their life in the actual world and the other half in the digital world. We can’t be so naïve as to think this is normal or healthy or preparing them for the future.
Who decreed that all teenagers and even children were required to have their own cell or smart phone? Why do we as parents feel peer pressure to make sure our children have the latest and the greatest? Who are we trying to impress? Are we becoming so shallow that we need smart phones and apps to show everyone exactly who we want to be rather than who we are? Do we really need instant, constant, and portable access to videos, games, and television shows?
I’ve seen teenagers and adults out on dates, constantly checking or typing something on their phones. I’ve heard of teenagers giving their friends the “play-by-play” of how a date is going. I wonder if they tell the truth: “Date’s not so good. Why? Because I’m obsessed with my phone.” Are our texts, tweets, and email so important that we need to be checking them virtually non-stop? Do we really measure our self-worth by how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers we have?
I really believe smart phones are making us numb to the world. We are becoming like little children who need constant entertainment and stimulation. Years ago Robin Williams said that giving his kids a Nintendo video game was like giving them the ultimate cocaine. We have now enhanced that addiction with the unbridled use of smart phones.
We have become an addicted society. As I sat in the airport recently, I watched people texting on their smart phones, emailing on their smart phones and even watching television on their smart phones. Heaven forbid anyone look up and make eye contact with a stranger.
What happened to driving in a car and just looking out the window? Are your kids giving up the entire physical world for a narcissistic, addictive need to follow someone or see who’s following them?
What happened to the art of conversation between two people? Do we constantly need to be stimulated by our phones? It’s ridiculous. Are our teenagers learning how to communicate and interact face-to-face with other humans, rather than through a text or Instragram? How will they do one day in a job interview?