Next to me, within easy reach, is my phone. And yeah, it's smart. Some days it seems like my phone is smarter than I am. And I take advantage of it, I do. Plans are made by texting, e-mailing, Facebooking from anywhere. Google is accessed daily. How late is the restaurant open? And how do I get there anyway?
On the floor by my feet is my bag, which holds my iPod (source of Music and Dancing), and six trillion cameras. I'm trying to be less crazy about the whole picture thing, because I don't want remembering an experience to get in the way of living it, but... I love my cameras, especially my DSLR.
So what I'm saying is, I'm drowning in technology. And even while I love it-- and I really, really do-- I hate it. I hate that almost anyone can reach me at any moment (though I'm getting better about simply not answering my phone if I don't want to). I hate that I have to rely on Will Power and Self-Control to do things like day dream and people watch rather than skim through Facebook or watch a YouTube video of a hilarious dog. I hate that it gives me the ability to do work Anywhere, so there is literally never an excuse for me not to be working on something. I'm not saying anything new, here. I know most people feel the same way, actually. But it's really come to the forefront for me recently, as I've been watching the kids.
They are transforming from people who like to Do Things and Go Places into kids who would really rather just be on Twitter, kthanxbye. If we can't post what we're doing on Instagram, what's the point? Is this activity REALLY going to be more fun than playing Plants Versus Zombies, or using that weird paint-colour-swirl app? I don't THINK so. (Don't you roll your eyes at me.)
And YES, it is important for kids to know how this technology works, and to feel comfortable with it, because by this time next year we will all have chips embedded in our brains that turn us INTO iPads. But, look, it shouldn't come at the expense of experiencing a three dimensional life. Boredom is good. Playing in the rain is way more valuable than whining about the rain on your fav social media (they do, actually, agree with me on this one). I get so frustrated seeing people (kids, adults... but MY kids, specifically) so plugged in to what is happening next on their iPod touches, Kindle Fires, laptops... you name it. We set time limits, o' course, but they are hard to stick to and monitor. These devices are picked up and put down a hundred gazillion times a day, in five or ten or twenty minute increments.
Or maybe this is what's bothering me the most: it's taken over their conversations. I hear about Twitter posts, and Instagram conversations, and the latest bands more than I ever hear about what they're thinking or feeling. More than their conversations, more than their activities, this technology seems to have taken over their brains. I feel like I'm jumping up and down, windmilling my arms in the air: "Hello! Hello? I'm over here! Let's play!"
And they will. It's not that they never put stuff down, it's not like they never do anything else. I keep talking to them about current events and interesting ideas, keep insisting on outings and activities. Once they are led to water, they will drink. But far be it from them to suggest we find a stream.