Sunday, October 19, 2014

Where Technology is Lacking

Recently I read a post on a friend's Facebook page:

My Childhood Was Like This:
I didn't have Blackberry, Wii, Playstation, or XBox.
I played hide-and-go seek, and football in the street.
The time for me to go back home was the hour it got dark,
And my mom didn't call my cellphone, but yelled: "Inside!"

Who do you think wrote this?

The answer is actually a friend of mine from rural Ecuador, but in many aspects my childhood was similar. Although when I was in middle school, we got a GameCube, growing up my brother and sister and I always played outside. We jumped on the trampoline, ran around the house shooting super-soakers at each other, and went on adventures in the woods.

I find it sad to see so many young kids these days standing in line with their parents, playing games on their iPad or phone, instead of inventing or imagining. Whatever happened to laundry basket "time machines", pirate battles in the barn, or picking raspberries in the backyard? The following video, titled "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?" challenges the way we think about technology in today's society. Take a look:

I remember when I returned to the U.S. in January, being shocked to see iPads at the airport fast food restaurants to order food. I stood there for about 5 minutes, waiting to be helped, when a woman told me to type in my order on the screen. I followed her instructions to get my egg roll, while silently wondering if in 20 years the world would be run by robots.

Now there is nothing innately wrong with advancing technology. In fact, it helps our day-to-day tasks go much smoother and faster than 50 years ago. Examples: microwaves, Excel, graphing calculators, email. However, as Prince Ea articulates in the video above, we as a society are becoming more and more disconnected from real relationships. Instead of going to get coffee with a friend, we opt for Skype dates. Kids are staying inside playing video games rather than physically exert themselves playing basketball or tag.

While I admit that connecting with friends in the U.S. through Facebook was great while I lived abroad, and still allows me to communicate with people I know all over the world, chat windows and videos take away from the sense of community that comes with personal face-to-face interaction. God created us to be in relationship with one another: to help one another, to share with one another, to love one another.

So, I'm not necessarily propagating that everyone shut down their social media accounts. But what I am proposing is that each day, even for an hour, we take the time to unplug and have genuine conversations with real people. Without checking our phones every two minutes. Because who is more important than the person you're with at that moment?

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