I looked around the room to see five people all facing the middle of the room, the television showing a movie we were watching ‘together’. It should have been a great shared experience, but for the five people in the room there were five devices. There was information exchange going on, but not with the people in the room. After an hour we could tell you just what our Facebook friends were thinking, but we hadn’t spoken a word. Yes, I too am guilty as I looked up from checking football scores on my smart phone to see the other four people on five devices. Being a Gen Xer, I immediately stopped using mine and began to judge everyone else.
We travel to make the holidays with family. We save through the year, we try to make a good plan and stick to it…then when we arrive we ask for the wi-fi password within an hour of arriving and continue our obsession with technology. Checking Facebook to see who posted the cutest Christmas picture. Tweeting to our friends that we have arrived. Surfing the internet…or writing another Blog post in your current series. This is a cultural phenomenon that has no end in sight, so its important to accept and adapt to the new construct.
One adaptation that we have in our house all the time is one living area dedicated as a technology free zone. We do have a phone there, but it is a vintage 1980s Mickey Mouse phone, cord and all! The fire burns bright, warming the room with a natural heat that warms the soul as much as the skin. The chairs are set for a conversation and the room as a whole beckons you to sit down and read a book, catch up with an old friend or take a nap on a winter’s afternoon. This room is a sacred place in our house. It is a room out of time where all of the ‘conveniences’ of our modern age are forbidden.
We also ban technology use at the dinner table. If you are the host, it is important to set some ground rules for where device use is allowed. This also provides a polite way of helping those who feel that everyone at the dinner table needs to hear their entire phone conversation. In fact, I don’t care about how important you are that your work has to call you on a holiday. I do care that if you are talking/texting/Facebooking, etc. while you are at the dinner table you cause a distraction that becomes part of the conversation. It is better to politely excuse yourself and move into a more appropriate area.
Technology is awesome! Using it appropriately and with time constraints is even better. Don’t let your entire holiday be wasted in a techno vortex…find the joy in a tech free space!
This is the ninth post in this series, let me recommend you first read ‘Twelve Debts of Christmas‘, ‘Family Holiday Ground Rules’, ‘1 Million Dollars’, ‘A Mental Breakdown’, ‘Equity’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Time’.