Technology and the Drug of Choice

We are consumed by screens, staring at televisions, computers, and phones, in an excessive amount of hours per week. According to cnn.com and Washingtonpost.com (2015 stats), teens spend 9 hours a day on social media. In 2014, nydailynews.com reported that children ages 2-11 watched 24 hours of television per week, increasing as children grew older. Time.com (2015) reports that young adults ages 18-24 check their phones 75 times per day. Crazy statistics. And at what cost?

The cost of children’s lives, who don’t run, play, or dream, who lose hours of imagination, days of thinking. The cost of adults, relationships lost, dreams turned to dust, health diminished.

It makes me so very sad.

We have forgotten how to think and create, to imagine without the use of a screen. We have forgotten how to entertain, to be alone, or with our friends and our mates. We have forgotten how to play. We have this attachment to a screen, like a drug that’s taken over our minds, that’s killing our bodies. Somehow, we need to let it go.

My husband and I have been guilty of the same thing. A few years ago, we began to figure it out. We were tired of paying for overly-expensive satellite television, so we dropped our subscription. It was one of the best things we’ve ever done. The benefits we received went well beyond the financial rewards of a larger bank account.

We found time to talk, to read, to walk. We found freedom from schedules, and from television shows we ‘just had to watch.’ And you know what? We don’t miss it.

But television is far from the only problem. There are computers, phones, and social media.

Computers can sometimes be deemed a necessity, used for work, sometimes for shopping, often for entertainment. To say we don’t need a computer isn’t logical, but I think we don’t need it as much as we think we do.

I think phones are the hardest. They are the tie to our family and friends, the way we stay connected. And with a phone constantly in our pockets and purses, our relationships are just a button away. But as much as I love my phone, and staying in contact my family, my husband and I made a commitment. We don’t answer phones during a meal, and when we watch a movie, they are placed in another room.

Technology is everywhere, bouncing off street corners, hidden inside little coffee shops. It’s part of our lives. And sometimes, I love it. But there is one thing in technology that frustrates me, and that is our constant attachment to social media. It has become a drug, the attention we crave from another human being, a virtual hug, high-five, an a-okay.

I understand the need to stay in touch, that sometimes we rarely see one another, and this is our replacement. I use social media myself. But it is no longer a constant companion, it is a source I check in with three times a day. I have learned to limit myself, to put a restriction on social media, and find more time with other’s whose flesh and blood is mere steps away.

It saddens me to think we need use technology as a replacement for a real human being. That parents phone children who are just steps away, that people in offices send a message instead of walking twenty feet. It saddens me to think we are a society who doesn’t take the time to relate to one another. It makes me wonder, if we keep this constant pace of using this drug-induced social interaction, what will happen to our world? Where will we be?

Will we forget how to talk to one another? Will we forget the touch of a hand, or the hug of a friend? Will we forget how to communicate?

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