I remember a day I spent at a friend’s house. We were upstairs in her room talking when her cell phone rang. It was her mom, calling from downstairs, telling her dinner was ready.
Instead of communicating face-to-face with one another inside the same house, the cell phone was decided to be the better medium of delivering the message.
In today’s technologically filled world, my friend’s family communication method is not all that uncommon in other households.
Cell phones have turned into the new intercom device, or rather, the new interruption device. And they’re not the only gadget to serve that purpose.
While some technological advancements have reconnected families who are separated from one another, they are destroying communication among families who live together.
Brad Stones of The New York Times followed around the Gude family, from Lansing, Mich., whose family’s communication interaction was affected by several forms of technology. He reported how the children slept next to outlets so their phone could be right by their side. Mr. and Mrs. Gude admitted to Stones that the first thing they do in the morning is check their e-mail.
“After six to eight hours of network deprivation — also known as sleep — people are increasingly waking up and lunging for cell phones and laptops, sometimes even before swinging their legs to the floor and tending to more biologically urgent activities,” said Stones.
According to Arbor Networks, a Boston company that analyzes Internet use, Web traffic in the United States gradually declines from midnight to around 6 a.m. on the East Coast and then rises significantly in the morning.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Throughout the day iPods clog the ears of teenagers making it a chore to have more than a five-second conversation. Facebook, for both parents and children alike, now consumes their free time as they stare at the computer screen and update their life electronically.
Family road trips, which used to be spent as quality bonding time, are now being destroyed by backseat DVD players that keep the kids quiet on the long rides.
When technology starts to complicate our lives by harming our personal relationships, it’s time to take a step back from our indulgences and enjoy the presence of loved ones.
It seems as though we’re so connected to everything that’s going on in the Internet world that we are completely disconnected from those standing right in front of us.
If things don’t come to a stop soon, dinnertime will result in texting each other across the table to pass the salt.
That e-mail on your BlackBerry can wait. The music you’re listening to will still be there if you turn it off to have a simple face-to-face conversation. And perhaps the dinner table won’t seem so lonely if the whole family can sit down, distraction free, and actually talk to each other.
Reach Monique at firstname.lastname@example.org