Thursday, July 30, 2015

Put the Phones Away!

ParentUnplugged - Stacy Snyder - Put the Phones Away
As I rode through the lake-front trail this afternoon, I was enamored by the cool breeze, expansive blue body of water lapping up against the rocks, and the thick lane of dragonflys buzzing to my right the entire ride.  And then I saw the family of 4 in the grass, sitting intimately in a circle of lawn chairs they'd hauled from home, facing one another....that is if their four heads weren't each buried in their own electronic devices!

Say what?  I thought maybe they were just a freak family, until I looked across the trail and saw another group, three little kids with two adults, thoughtfully seated cross-legged atop a checkered picnic blanket with only a bowl of fruit connecting them in the middle of the blanket, as each person had their own phone, tablet, or computer, going to town individually.

What has happened in our world to make this a normal scene?  What's the point of packing up the car or the bike or the backpacks to head to the lake with a group, only to interact only individually with a device?  Why not just stay at home?

We took our kids to our favorite breakfast joint a few weeks ago.  As the waiter walked away from our tiny table after taking our grub order, a table of 4 guys next to us asked the waiter to take away all the condiments on the table as it was too tight.  Two seconds later, each of the 4 men had their cell phones whipped out in front of them, each individually active on their own device.  Startled by the sight, I decided to survey the restaurant to see if this was normal behavior, and sure enough, whole tables of kids, adults, babies, and seniors were all busy jacking with their phones, without a word being spoken or a glance being given to their table mates.

Who in the Sam Hill decided that this is acceptable?  We wonder why our kids can't interact well with others or pay attention to anything we say.  It's because we're teaching them by example that zoning out on their own while in the intimate company of others is acceptable social etiquette.

Folks, put your phones away.  Nothing's that freakin' important or entertaining that can't wait a few minutes while you converse with your spouse or chat with your buddies or interact with your family or co-workers.  Is this how you want to be remembered by the person sitting across from you?