I grew up in Norman Rockwellian small town America at a time when you could play in the woods for the whole day and your parents didn’t think twice about it. Most of the time, we were building forts or playing sports or games in the street, our driveways, or our backyards. Our play was imaginative, competitive, and relational and we were super active.
Kids today, on the other hand, have cell phones, computers, video games, iPods, and a host of other electronic devices to entertain and educate them—many of which I’m probably not even aware of!
Technology has improved our lives in dramatic ways. It has made our work far more efficient and communication more rapid and widespread. We are far more connected, at least on the surface, because of these advancements.
There is a downside, however. For every plus, there is a minus or two that we should be considering for the social, psychological, and physical health of our younger generation. For example:
- Our world is getting more impersonal as it becomes more technological.
- We text or email rather than talk.
- Our lives are more distracted because of our numerous interruptions and our attention spans have shrunk.
- We are spending less time reflecting and using our imaginations.
- We lose the ability to read body language and social cues in other people.
- Our waistlines are growing as we’ve become more sedentary.
- We sleep poorly, as online activities keep us up too late and the constant stream of information makes it difficult to turn off our brains.
- We are being consumed by “busyness” and it is affecting our responsiveness to true priorities
I know I’m probably sounding like Fred Flintstone, but I believe there’s some middle ground. When I hear about car accidents occurring because of drivers’ texting, or when I observe my daughter’s friends’ texting when they’re supposed to be enjoying each other’s company, I think the pendulum may have swung too far.
Remember that time is a precious asset and that relationships are designed to be personal. Your brain was designed to be active. Your body was designed to move. Don’t let your electronic devices interfere with any of that!
How is technology affecting your time allocation and personal interaction with others? Have they impacted your quiet time and productivity? What are some ways you’ve found to creatively “unplug” for refreshment?