By Jim “Pappy” Moore
One afternoon several years ago, my nephew and I took his son to one of those fun centers which are full of games and various activities. It was after school had let out and there were many young people ages thirteen to eighteen who were sitting around on various couches and chairs. Each one was staring into their cell phone, with its blue-white glow reflected in their faces and their eyes. Transfixed self-involvement.
As the three of us enjoyed the fun at the center, I noticed that most of the young people remained in their seat, in their position, seldom looking away from their best friend, their cell phone.
More and more, we see people in public places glued to their cell phone screen, constantly apart from everyone around them. Parents with their children in restaurants, ignoring the kids while glued to the hand-held device. Children not old enough to have such a device, wedded constantly to it. Socialization with those present suffers, while socialization with those absent increases.
Some would rather text than talk. It seems to be an addiction, as many cannot stop themselves from holding the phone, checking it, and using it without interruption. It is more important than the live, breathing humans in their company.
Certainly, sometimes the use of such devices overrides the banter with current company. If you own a business, you may have to be available for immediate responses. If you have children of a certain age, you may need to quickly and immediately respond to their communications. But every text and every phone call are not justification for interrupting a meal, a meeting, or a conversation.
Except on rare occasions, I don’t even take my cell phone out of the car when I’m meeting with someone or having a meal. Whatever it is, it can wait until I return to the car later. I realize my view on that is not the norm, and because of my age and station in life I have options others do not enjoy.
I do lament the passing of the time when entire families sat in the same room and all watched the same television program together. That doesn’t happen much now. Everyone has their own “TV” screen in hand and can watch what they want to watch at any given time. The consequence is less shared experiences for families and friends.
I still enjoy watching television shows or movies with family members – my son, my nephew, my sister, my grandkids, my grand-nieces. These are experiences which should not be missed, but would be missed if everyone has to be absorbed in the video of their choosing, every moment.
It’s important to make times that will not be interrupted by screen-driven distractions. I have to remind myself of that while watching TV with others at my home. The computer screen beckons just as the phone does. Sometimes I have to make myself turn it off to avoid that problem.
Copyright 2022, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.