I dare you. I dare you, right now, to stand up and go to any public place and find somebody who isn’t glued to their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other electronic device. Are you back yet?
Did you even leave?
If you hesitated to take this bet, it’s probably because you’ve already accepted it as a fact. You already know what is plain as day: people are attached to their electronics. In lieu of real, human interaction, a majority of people are placated by a dimly lit screen. Technology is largely to blame for our disconnectedness in the world.
All it takes is one walk around a neighborhood or a trip to a coffee shop to see that people are addicted to their devices. Go to any restaurant – ANY restaurant – and you will witness a table of people staring at their phones instead talking to each other. It’s tragic, isn’t it? How much longer is it going to take for modern society to realize that technology is the bane of connecting with other human beings?
But maybe that’s not the case. Maybe technology has gotten a bad rap. Maybe we’re too quick to blame the iPhone on society’s inability to connect with reality. I came across a comic the other day that highlights this:
Isolating ourselves from other people is not a new problem no matter how much we pretend it is. People have been unplugging from others before “unplugging” was even an expression. In my opinion, we are attributing social isolation to technology simply because we see it all the time, not because it is the cause of the problem. No, I believe it is merely the symptom of an issue rather than the issue itself. The real problem is that we are closed off to most people by default.
Before you start thinking that I’m preaching at you, I’ll tell you that as an introvert, I struggle with this in a very real way. I could easily retreat into my own thoughts and be fine by myself with a book, smartphone, TV, or computer. But I know that’s not how I’m supposed to live, even if it is the most comfortable for me. So what I have been doing lately is praying – specifically about ways that I can connect with others, despite that being out of my comfort zone. A verse that really speaks to this is Ephesians 5:15-16
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (emphasis mine)
There are a million ways for us to disconnect from the people around us. It’s time for us to stop blaming technology – let’s instead fix the root of the problem. Let’s start making the most of every opportunity to connect with the people around us.