By: Lt. Joe Laramie (ret)
Have you ever noticed kids as they leave school standing shoulder to shoulder while they wait for a friend or a ride home? Were they talking with others, or just looking down at their smart phones, thumbs flying? Have you looked around the room during a break at a meeting or conference of adult professionals and see how many people pull out that phone and ignore what’s going on around them?
I know that some need to be catching up on business, but how many of you have seen both young and old using a handheld device as a crutch to avoid communicating with others?
Recently, I was visiting a sick friend in the hospital and was amazed to find two smart phones, two iPads and a laptop in use, but nobody actually talking to the sick guy they came to visit!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of overusing technology, which means I’m not just calling others out; I’m calling myself out when I say…
• Put down that phone – Speak to others
• No texting at the dinner table
• Sleep is more important than your messages
These are just a few examples. What can you add to this list?
Texting can be a great time saver for a simple message like “I’m on my way” but should it be our standard form of communication? I remember the good old days when my kid would call with excitement to say “Dad! I aced that history test!! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. You were right. Thanks for helping me study.” Isn’t that a whole lot better than…”History-A – ttyl?”
Am I the only one who misses a conversation with important aspects of communication like body language, tone and inflection? Some of the best conversations I’ve had were with total strangers standing in line to buy concert tickets or boarding a plane. Those days seem lost now. Folks are busy texting, tweeting, or just avoiding others by occupying themselves within their devices.
Be honest with yourself about your own use of technology and make sure you set a good example. Talk with your kids about the way they use their own electronic devices. Help them understand how important it is to speak with others and not just text them.
The other day my wife jokingly said, “Someday they’ll invent a device people can use to simply speak to each other.” We can only hope!!!
Lt. Joe Laramie’s blogs post initially on the iKeepSafe blog site and INOBTR the following day.