Why I Am Jealous of the Older Generation and Why the Younger Generation Should Be Jealous of Me
The smart phone era and social media popularity both certainly have their perks. I mean isn't it cool that we can get virtually any information needed at any time with portable devices? And how awesome is it that our friends and family across the globe can share in our lives via Facebook and other social media outlets by looking at photos of our kids, wishing us well when they didn't see us at the last holiday gathering, congratulating us on our accomplishments or a new baby, or sending us condolences for the loss of a loved one... The list goes on.
How terrific is it that we can get information at an unbelievable speed and at utmost convenience? We can Google the answers to our child's homework, look up a phone number, shop online, check sports scores, find new recipes, you name it! They are all just a click away or sometimes a simple question to Siri. How convenient for all of us!
Then there is texting. Which isn't exactly that new of a phenomenon, but still is awfully cool in and of itself. It is a quiet way to correspond with friends and family, a quick and easy way to tell them something. No kids yelling in the background, and no waiting to leave a voicemail. Just text and when they get a chance they will see it. I often think about how convenient that feature would have been for me while I was in law school and married, living away from my husband. I am not old. We had cell phones when I was in law school (I did graduate in the 2000s). They weren't big and bulky and ancient looking with antennas (think Jurassic Park or Saved By the Bell). They were compact and normal – flip phones. But we didn't text. No, I had to wait to call my husband when I was out of class and hope he was available to take my call. I couldn't just text a reminder to him here or there but a whole conversation had to take place. That's just a simple example of a difference that technology has brought to our lives in just a few short (less than 10) years. There are thousands of other examples I could give and many more examples those older than me could share.
The generation before me, they had phones that were connected to the wall! Hard to believe you had to stand in the same location to have a conversation. And when they needed to help their kids with their homework, they used books- encyclopedias and dictionaries. Their computers, if you were financially sound enough to even own one, weren’t portable. They were connected to the wall and often times used a dial up connection to get on the Internet. Which meant the phone, connected to the wall, now couldn’t be used. How lucky are we today with the technology and resources we have available? Pretty lucky. But as with all things, there are drawbacks. And this leads me to why I am jealous of the older generation and why the younger generation should be jealous of me...
I’m jealous of the TIME the older generation had. And the younger generation should be jealous of the PRIVACY I had growing up.
Let me explain...you know those answers that are so readily available to us? And those friends that we can reach with just a quick post on Facebook or a text? These people that technology has made so easy for us to reach? They’re stealing my TIME! I do it. I am guilty of it. I know I am. And probably some of you are, too. I check texts when I shouldn't. I read social media when I shouldn't. When what I want to be doing, and what I need to be doing is spending time with my loved ones or enjoying a family dinner. I should be taking in a moment that may seem normal and ordinary and making it spectacular and extraordinary. I could be having an old-fashioned conversation! I could be present in the moment before the moment becomes a memory. Have any of you seen the pictures that were taken of families looking at their phones, and the phones were removed from the photos via Photoshop? It was incredible! People on dates looking at their hands (where the phone would normally be), couples in bed and on the same couch on their photo-shopped out phones, parents at the park with their kids or at their sporting events on their photo-shopped out phones, kids at the dinner table with photo-shopped out iPads. How silly the photos looked without the device in them, yet how clearly the point was made. We have welcomed these devices into our homes and allowed them to be a part of our intimate moments with our loved ones and family members. We bring them to dinner, bed, sporting events, vacation. These smart phones, they have made me stupid. Stupid enough to have let them steal my TIME and for that I am jealous of the older generation who didn't have the temptation or existence of such devices.
And that younger generation: my children. It makes me sad and nervous to think of their childhood and adolescence. They are fortunate to have so many wonderful opportunities afforded to them because of technology. They can learn things younger and faster than I ever could. They can self –teach by simply watching a YouTube video and they can explore areas of the world - photos of foreign lands and animals, videos of foreign languages and customs. They can read without books and watch movies without DVDs. But they have so much freedom that their privacy has been lost. Growing up is hard enough to do without social media to accentuate your flaws. Going to school was hard enough when people were mean and nasty to you in the confines of the school building, now there is cyber bullying. A kid can't even go home to the place he feels secure, with people that love him, without still being connected to the horrible people who haunt him. And what about all those stupid things we do - in college, or while drunk or ever? Now, there is a camera as readily available to us as our phones to document all that stuff quickly, easily and indiscreetly. We have all done something that we probably regret. How would we feel if that regretful thing was captured in a photo or a video and then sent to people or worse yet publicly posted for the whole world to see? The horror!!! There are so many wonderful ways that social media and smart phones help us - find lost loved ones, solve crime, capture memories easier, execute prayer chains, etc., but there are so many ways that the same media can hurt our lives.
I don't want technological advances to take away any more of my TIME and I don't want it to invade any more of my children's privacy. I want my children to get to enjoy life and make mistakes and live without the fear and anxiety that comes with social media. They don't see technology that way. This is all they know! But I know differently! And my parents knew differently, and their parents did, and their parents did and so on. It's the evolution of life. It is a beautiful thing. Minds are reaching new horizons and making awesome gadgets. Brains are finding cures for diseases that those before them could have only dreamed of finding. We get to LIVE this! Let us make sure that we actually are LIVING it. And not merely using it as a substitute for living.