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Is your device becoming a vice?

wwwI think, if we are honest, all of us could say we have become at least somewhat familiar with a set of fairly new experiences.  I am referring to a phenomena associated with our society’s technological “connectedness.”

Such experiences include, but are not limited to, phantom cell phone ringing and vibrating, insatiable urges to crush candy, inability to wait more than 30 seconds to check a text, and a feeling that a moment or experience is not truly complete without a Facebook post or Instagram pic to document the event….and God forbid that our “friends” don’t “like” the post.

If none of these experiences are relatable, then certainly you have been to a restaurant and during a casual perusal of the environment have noticed that at least half of the people are staring at their phone.

Welcome to our brave new world, a world that has been characterized by biologist E.O. Wilson as he states that “we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and God-like technologies.”  I interpret this to mean, that while we are wildly advanced technologically, we still have fundamental, mostly unchangeable emotional needs.  I will refrain to comment on our “medieval institutions.”

Emotions exist, in large part, to facilitate relationship.  They enable us to connect with other people.  God said that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, and so he made another person for him to be in relationship with.  We need real, genuine, complicated, messy, intimate human relationships!  We are hard-wired for it.

Our society’s internet addiction is, like every addiction, an intimacy issue.  We know this is true.  That is why when you see a couple sitting across from one another at a restaurant, and rather than conversing they are staring at their phones, it strikes you as sad.   They are missing the moment.  They are missing each other for the sake of someone who exists on a screen.

The tragedy is the effect that this is having on our children and families.  As a graduate student intern at a local University in counseling psychology, I see this regularly.  Kids are being torn at in three ways, here is the scenario:  they have parents who are working almost 24/7 because technology allows them to, they feel pressure coming from peers to stay on top of all the latest news, and so they turn to gaming and social media to fill an ever growing void of loneliness.

As a result we have children who are desensitized, unable to connect, and largely alone despite the hundreds of “friends” on Facebook.  Some internalize and shut down, becoming depressed and distant, others externalize and become aggressive and pissed off.  The crazy thing about it is that in reality we don’t know exactly what they feel because they were born into this internet age.  They don’t know anything but being plugged in.

The solution is simpler than the execution of it.  Unplug and re-connect to the person if front of you.  Our children, families and relationships are more important than whatever we are doing on the screen…and we will lose them if we choose to connect.

We were featured in a story about this very topic on My Fox Orlando!
FOX 35 News Orlando

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