This past Saturday night I was out at a restaurant and observed a family who had just been seated across from us. I noticed that the son had his IPod earpiece attached in his ear. Naturally, I thought this would be removed as he is about to dine with his family, but to my surprise this earpiece remained firmly implanted. This really bothered me!
What happen to manners? He is sitting at dinner table not a mall bench. How is his inactivity in conversation helping him? The dinner table is a good place to engage with people, not technology. What are these parents thinking? Have we all gone mad and can not function without being plugged into something?
I see it all the time and wonder what would happen to people if they were unplugged. Unplugged from cell phones, IPods, computers and the television.
Would they begin to have more conversations with others around them? Would they hear the sounds of their world more clearer? If their home computer was off when they returned from work, what would the rest of their days and nights look like?
If the television was turned off would they get that project done they have been saying they have no time for? Would they begin to write that book they are always talking about? Would they be more physically active or more creative? What would they accomplish?
Within my own life I know how easy it is to plug in and tune out, but I have come to realize in doing this I am not truly living purposefully. We miss the language of life when our ears are plugged with devices. Common courtesy for the people around us is tossed aside. Acknowledgement of our surroundings is diminished and that can make us vulnerable. But most of all, we may sit back one day and say “I wish I had …”.
There are many addictions in this world but it appears some people have lost their ability to live a moment, a day, a week, a month without having that fix of the screen in front of their eyes or other technological devices attached to their ears. They spend countless hours tuned into other peoples creativity, business or dramatizations of life, family and careers. If you don’t think you are addicted, then try unplugging. If what you use is not for work purposes than shut it off.
Try to see how you physically feel when you unplug for a day, two days, a week or more. Did you have troubles knowing what to do with your time? Did it force you to talk with others in your family or your community? Did you get something done you previously could not finish? Did you find another way to vegetate or relax?
Observing that young man at the dinner table I couldn’t help but think that if plugging in or tuning out becomes the norm, we as a society will lose more than a conversation with those we love. I’m not anti-technology as some may believe, I’m using it right now, what I am is someone who knows to keep it in its place.