Is Your Technology Distracting You? Controlling You?

Posted on Posted in Campus Life, Culture

Does this image look like it could have been captured on your campus?

Would you fit into this photo? And what I mean by that is, have people learned to recognize you by the top of your head and the casing of your phone — because you’re always looking down at it?

For as fun, convenient, connected, and efficient as technology has made much of life — it is also leaving its mark on us in some negative ways.

As I walk about campus, I often see just as many tops of heads as I do faces. Students lost in a text message, email, status update, or something else.

And while what they’re checking in on might be important, I fear that more often than not it’s not very important at all.

But it is safe.

Or at least it feels safer than having to look other people in the eyes, consider how you might greet them, and then actually engaging someone face-to-face with words, body language, eye contact, and your human self.

Screens, and our ability to communicate from behind them, is serving to stunt our ability to communicate face-to-face as social beings.

And as a generation that has grown up using numerous screens, you will face many more challenges — if you desire to overcome the technological drag on your social skills — which will ultimately serve to set you a part from your peers when it comes to your ability to communicate in relationships and work that requires interpersonal skills (which will be the vast majority of work out there).

Not only that, but have you ever stopped to consider what you’re actually missing out on when you’re walking through campus (or town) with your eyes glued to your phone?

The sun rising over distant trees…

The beautiful landscape that has been thoughtfully placed throughout campus…

The kind smile of a classmate…

A couple of birds chasing one another…

The concerned look on a struggling friend’s face…

The joy of two peers laughing across the quad…

The changing colors of the season…

The beauty and majesty of God — in both the ordinary and the extraordinary.

While technology has the capacity to bring benefit to our lives, it is quite unlikely that will bring meaning, purpose, or significance to our lives.

So I wonder…

What might you gain by choosing to leave your phone in your pocket more often?

Walking around campus…

Eating in the caf…

Hanging out in your room or the lobby with friends…

I encourage you — even challenge you — to give it a try this week.

And if you need further proof that this is an issue in our culture, consider the following commercial comically depicting the very real challenge of keeping healthy and appropriate boundaries with our technologies.

And no, I don’t think that another phone is the answer to this problem. 😉