Laying diagonally on my bed, with my feet in the air, twirling my hair and watching a lava lap with my telephone cord stretched across the room—I’m talking to my best friend, Christina. This scene was ever-present in my childhood—almost daily. Will our children talk to their friends on the phone like this? Probably not.
Technology has evolved and become as present in our lives as breathing. We are attached to our smartphones, computers and tablets—including children.
Laying on my loft bed, or hanging out on the futon while painting my nails, I rarely multitasked while talking to my boyfriend (now husband) on the phone when I was in college.
Verbal communication is a thing of the past. I shouldn’t feel old writing this post, but at the tender age of 27, I feel ancient when reflecting on my past.
Facebook was something only college students had access to in 2004 and it was a network we checked once or twice a day, not once or twice every few minutes. MySpace was a place to fill out surveys, spend time pretending to be a graphic designer and web editor—adding blinkies, photos and favorite songs to pages. Email was primarily for school—communicating with professors, classmates and keeping up to date on campus news.
Growing up, in my opinion, we were more focused. We spent our childhood years being children, playing outside, playing pretend (school, teacher, restaurant) and doing our homework. Nowadays, children are texting, following celebrities on Twitter, never visiting a library and growing up too fast.
I sat in the grocery cart, rode in the car and ate dinner with my family without any problems as a child. I didn’t need to listen to music, play video games or text during any of those activities and I most certainly did not have to carry my Gameboy around Disney World. Children can survive without the distraction of technology—we are proof.
Technology is awesome and so is social media, but we should take it in moderation. I’m the pot calling the kettle black. I think children should have to go to a library, learn to use a card catalog and those horrific encylopedias. Not because it’s what we did, but because it builds character, life skills, patience (or impatience) and feeds the brain.
Children should call their best friends with exciting news, prank call their crushes, use a phone book, play pretend, enjoy playing outdoors and get really excited when a new video game or system comes out. Christina and I didn't play games with each other on our cellphones (obviously we couldn't) but we were creative and played Clue, Jr. on the phone. I didn't cheat, but I swear she did! :) We begged our parents for video phones that cost hundreds of dollars...and now we FaceTime!
|we put a lot of miles on the pedal boat|
Techonology is exciting. Smartphones are convenient and fun. Grammar, spelling, writing and speaking are all suffering because of laziness and short hand texting and social networking lingo. Teachers are seeing shorthanded words and abbreviations in school essays and assignments.
We live in a fast-paced life now where we don’t have the time to write out a full word, call someone and wait for the phone to ring and rarely do we leave voicemails. We run to non-verbal communication when something exciting happens. Hey text friends or Facebook world, guess what?!
Don’t lose sight of what is important. Call your friend when you get engaged or find out you are pregnant. Don’t type five paragraph essays via text, pick up the phone and tell the story. Answer the phone when someone you’re texting with calls—they know you’re right there. Hang out with your friends in person, and put your phones down.
Initially this post was going to be about technology has affected the dating scene, but I had so much fun reminiscing about my childhood that it turned into a preachy mom speech. I’ll be writing that post for next week. I’m off to go call a co-worker instead of exchanging 5-20 emails back and forth before we have everything figured out or get frustrated with lack of understanding the previous email.
Pick up the phone and call a friend. Play with your children outside—who cares about a grass stain. Live life a little without wifi and emojis. Click here to read about surviving deployments before and after technology. Click here to read Generation Ungrateful.
I tried to include photos from my childhood, but definitely need to make a trip to Michigan to scan all the photos I wish I had copies of here.