I have recently had the pleasure of getting to spend a week with my 9 year old niece. Emma was so awesome to have around! She spent most of the time toting Charlie around, dressing her and playing with her. Her little feet running through the house, the occasional “crop dusting” followed by hysterical laughter, the extra hugs and of course a few complaints really added a wonderful element to our home. It was a sad day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece at the end of her visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. This is actually something I often think about. It really is unfair for families to be so far apart. Unfair and unnatural as far as the history of our species goes.
I can narrow this feeling down to the love/hate relationship I have with technology and its various forms. On one hand I am grateful that we have the ability to travel to and stay in touch with our loved ones from afar; we even get the visual aspect with things like Skype and FaceTime. On the other hand I also feel that it is technology that has driven us not just further apart, but further indoors as well. We sit under artificial light, plastered in front of some various screen that omits more artificial light (and Lord only knows how harmful the EMF’s really are) completely changing the way we socialize as animals. Emma knows this innately. It was evident in her response when I attempted to cheer her up saying, “we can talk and FaceTime any time you want.” Her reply? “It’s not the same!”
And it isn’t. Yet so many of us trade real life face time, actual social interaction and human connection, for time in front of a screen. Social networking is not socialization folks and we are designed to NEED the latter! If you feel like something is missing in your life, maybe it’s time to put the phone down, turn off the TV and get your butt out the door for some time with family, friends and heaven forbid, some sunshine.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of technology. I just think it needs to be treated with some caution and respect. Take this blog for instance. I love that I can write my thoughts and share them with so many of you with just a few clicks. I love helping people even if it is just through introducing some new ideas. If it weren’t for technology I would not have had access to the many articles, blogs, books and podcasts which have in turn, helped me. While I really love the action of reading a book (the actual hard copy where pages have to be turned) I also appreciate how accessible things like Nooks and Kindles make books. My husband is a second grade teacher and I once heard him say, in regards to having eReaders in the classroom, that it is “such a great way to get as many books as possible into the hands of our children.” I could not have said this better.
But back to caution and respect. I truly think we need to make a point to disconnect. Almost everyone I know runs around all day with a cell phone in their pocket, a tablet in their backpack and a computer at work and at home while sitting in a building or a home with WiFi, televisions and microwaves. Myself included. (Although I apply some caution here and try to keep the direct contact with my body limited. More on this in a moment.) Technology has grown so much so FAST that it nearly impossible to tell the long term effects of being surrounded by it all day. EMF’s are real, and while I am no expert, everything I have read and heard about them lead to a few key points:
- They are everywhere (natural and manmade).
- They affect our bodies in different ways.
- We do not know if they affect us in a bad or a good way.
This is a lot of unknowns. I am not comfortable with unknowns. So what do we do? Let me hear it folks, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. And by respecting technology, I just mean take the time to understand it. Put it in it’s proper place and time. Exercise caution around something that really is powerful and can have a powerful affect on our lives. For the readers who have stuck with me this far, I am going to assume you are intrigued. So I will offer you my tips for disconnecting!
- Stay informed and educate yourself! Don’t take my word for it, utilize your technology and look into it yourself.
- Get your phone out of your pocket. Seriously. Just keep your stuff as far away from your physical body as possible.
- Get a wired headset (bluetooth does NOT count) or use speaker phone. I love my Apple headphones.
- Don’t sleep with your phone in your room. At the very least, don’t put it right by your head. Ideally, give yourself one room that is free of technology. The bedroom is perfect, you don’t need it while you are sleeping and the artificial light messes with your sleep anyways. That text message and Facebook notification will still be there in the morning, I promise.
- Turn off all technology an hour or so before bed. Find some other way to wind down! Remember books? Take a hot back, read to your kids, sit outside and watch the sun set if the weather allows…(Now I know that this can be hard, and some days not possible, especially if it is part of your job. Consider f.lux for your computer and orange glasses to cut back on the blue light that affects your sleep. Yes I am this big of a dork.)
- Turn off your WiFi at night. You don’t need this while you are sleeping either.
- Spend time with PEOPLE. In the flesh. Where you can touch them, see them and hear their voice all at the same time. I read something somewhere about a party where people had to leave their cellphones at the door. What a great idea! I can remember being with a large group of my friends and still pulling my phone out to check it at regular intervals. There was hardly anyone left to text me, but I was still checking. In hindsight this just seems crazy.
Thanks for sticking with me readers! As always, I welcome questions and comments. I do enjoy a good discussion!