The Tragedy of Technology

The Tragedy of Technology

by Rachel Allison

In today’s world of fascination with iPhones, iPads, iPods, computers, Internet and texting, social skills are becoming less and less evident.  But what is even more troubling is the demise of family communication.  Whether purposefully or consequentially people are shutting real live people out of their lives.  Such interaction is vital to growth, learning, support, friendship and love.

My sweet nephew was painfully shy and withdrawn.  As much as we tried to communicate with him, he wouldn’t talk to grown ups. As he grew he quickly recognized that if he plugged into his Walkman no one expected him to join in the conversation.  He always had his earphones on…it was his way of saying, “I don’t want to talk right now…I’m involved in something more important than you and what you have to say.” If someone wanted to talk to him they had to physically tug on his shirt or tap him on the shoulder because he was tuned out and disconnected from everyone. It was as if he didn’t want to interact for fear that someone would get to know the real Tim.

Last week I was at a restaurant and during the course of our meal and conversation, I noticed a father and son sit down at a table next to ours. The boy was probably nine or ten.  The father was in his late twenties or early thirties.  Neither said a word to each other the entire meal…seriously! The young boy had some sort of game boy that he was playing with between bites.  The father had his own toy, a phone that he was obsessed with.  I know it was none of my business, but it broke my heart to see the one on one time wasted between father and son.

There is definitely a time for technology.  There is also a definite time that we adults should turn it off or ignore it, and explain to our children/grandchildren just why we should focus on real people in the here and now. I have heard it said that children who are not spoken to by live and responsive adults will not learn to speak properly.  And children who are not answered will stop asking questions.  That in and of itself is a shame, but the emotional withdrawal that our society is experiencing is a tragedy.

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