Sometimes I just wish for a day that we all could go back. I am talking a time machine and warp back to the past, even if only for a day. As I stare at the small 3.5 x 5′ screen I can’t help but wonder, have I became a zombie, a servant, a slave to the rectangle device we call a smartphone? I am not trying to be one of those “Holier than thou” type people. I love my phone as much as the next person. As I stare waiting for the next update, the next like the next comment, I get a small fix of the drug I like to call, technocodine. Ok, I just made that up but you, my reader get the picture.
It wasn’t always like this. In elementary school in the 1980s, we played outside and loved it! Rarely did we have technology in our hands except maybe a Nintendo controller for a short time after getting home from school. I remember the days of passing notes in class to my 1st “real” girlfriend, trying to catch her attention and hide from my geometry teacher at the same time. At the bus stop in Middle and High school, our status updates were who we called last night on a landline phone and what the conversation consisted of. Prank calls were the best and we all knew to be ready for the wicked “3-way call of doom.” There were no screenshots. The worst that could happen was leaving an embarrassing message on someone’s answering machine!
Where I grew up, if you had a feud with someone you might end up in a brawl after school in front of a small crowd, but regardless of who won or lost guns were rarely a factor. Today, when arguments break out it quickly goes viral on social media and kids are killing other kids over opinions, ideas, and emotions that are not even real. I have never seen anything like this. I worry about our younger generation. The same technology that grants so many opportunities if used correctly, has also caused so much harm to homes, families, and communities.
I know what you are saying, who does this guy Vintage Retroman think he is? He is so self-righteous. How dare he address this subject with his audience while he uses technology to do it? Truth be told, I am preaching to myself as well. I am addicted to technology. It is the disconnect of being too connected at times. It’s quite troubling actually. I used to go to the beach to sit out and enjoy the warmth of the sun, the sound of the crashing waves and all the beautiful sights. Now when I go to the beach, I have to capture every single moment on film. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with taking beautiful pictures. What I’m saying is, if taking the perfect picture to capture the beauty of the moment becomes more important than enjoying the moment, that is a problem.
Here is an idea for you, my reader. What if for one day, the world had “International No Technology Day”. Literally 24 hours. Would the world stop spinning? What if there was one day where everyone had to actually have a conversation with another person face to face? Picture just one day, where we talked to our kids and spouses about everything in person. What would it look like, considering we’ve been conditioned to be slaves to technology? Once again, I am not trying to make anyone feel bad. I am trying to make us all think.
I say all of this, as I type my article on my laptop. My smartphone just went off so I will be checking the latest news and social media updates just like you in a minute. Then, I look over at my wife and kids and they’re doing the same. Oh sure we’re all in the same room, so I will justify my actions by saying we are all spending time together. It’s easier that way right? I am sure that my sons would enjoy what they are doing on their phones or video games way more than me tossing the football with them in the yard. My 8-year-old daughter doesn’t want to have a tea party with me for sure. Well, maybe they would like that, maybe not. One thing’s for certain though, there’s no way my daughter who plays on her high school softball team wants me to go out in the yard and play pitch and catch, right? Yeah, that’s right, she’d much rather watch softball updates on Twitter or the College Softball World Series?
I am a hypocrite in every sense of the word. I wrote this article for me. I have diagnosed myself with the disconnect of being too connected. Can someone please teach me how to hold down that little red semi-circle button that says “Power”? Can someone please help me remember the conversations with my mother around the table while eating a delicious meal? Will someone please let my wife know that I am so sorry. I know that we used to have really long, deep conversations about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I must admit here recently that the quick text conversations of “Hey, how is your day?” “Oh good, that’s good” and “I love you” get just a little old after a while. To my reader, while you are explaining things, please let my children know that I love them and that I promise to learn how to put the laptop, phone, and games down for a little while. I can’t be the only one infected with this disease. Just remember that it is not the devices themselves that are the problem. They are only inanimate objects. We only get sick from the actual disease when our thoughts, motivations, and objectives become subject to over connection. To my reader, I would never judge you. I am simply a fellow traveler trying to get back to using technology for good in its proper context. Let us take this trip together, one step at a time. Signing off for now.