Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Great Disconnect

Smartphone enthusiasts will have you believe that we're living in the smartphone revolution. But maybe this is less of a revolution and more a sign of the zombie apocalypse. We have all heard stories about the zombie invasion -- the dead rising from the grave and attacking us all. Perhaps, George Romero and Robert Kirkman had it wrong. Maybe Stephen King’s Cell was the most prophetic vision of a zombie invasion -- with phones being the cause of us losing our humanity.

It’s time to put down your smartphones.

I fear the most for the people who are growing up in this smartphone era. They don’t know life before the smartphone and it will be much harder for them to develop real world personal skills and enjoy life, than those like myself and those that came before me. I’m part of that unique generation that grew up before the smartphone. I remember the landline. A phone that was used solely for phone calls and could only be taken with you as far as the twisty wire could stretch. I had a childhood without a phone, so I interacted with people who were there with me. And if I wanted to talk with someone I would use my phone to call them and speak to them vocally, then set up a way to meet with them.

That time has passed. Now we live in the era of smartphones, where our phones rarely leave our sides no matter where we are. Society claims that our smartphones connect us more than ever, but truthfully it disconnects us more than ever. Rather than telling people about our epic vacations, we post pictures of them online in hopes of getting ‘likes.’ Instead of sharing the news we hear with our friends, we post a status. This is not true communication and because of that we’re losing our humanity.

Use your phone to call someone and catch up with them vocally. Encourage friends to meet in person, and then when you do -- put your phone down! There is no point in spending time with people if most of the time is spent staring at your phone.

Instead of taking a million pictures of the sunset and tweaking the picture settings just right, put your phone down and just take it in. Enjoy the sunset.

I was at Disneyland recently, and I was shocked at how many people would take their phones out on rides and record the ride. People spend hundreds of dollars to get into Disneyland and then rather than enjoying the ride for themselves they ruin their personal experience to record it on their phones and share it online.

Keep your phone in your pocket, enjoy the experience, and then tell people about it. You will grow more socially and become more interesting to people if you do that.

Smartphone usage has it’s place. I admit that I use mine frequently, but only for work. If I want to connect with people, I make an effort to connect with them in person.

There is a time and a place for taking pictures, texting, and viewing social media on your smartphone. That time is not all the time. Only sometimes.

It’s time to put the phone down, refuse to disconnect, and truly connect.

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