Is Technology Screwing with Family Relationships?

While technology is extremely important, and I am extremely grateful for it, I have to admit that it is causing us to pay less attention to more important things. Driving while talking on the phone is hazardous, especially with kids in the car, whether we use an earphone or not. A guy in a white Honda flipped me off just last week for almost sideswiping him. (“Get off your phone, you’re gonna WRECK!”)

Overusing our cells must be the in thing. I’ve witnessed parents chatting away on their phones while ignoring obviously bored, young children. Cell phone email is great for quick communication, and for keeping in touch with loved ones living far away. But I absolutely cringe when my God children receive spam mail on their desktops, laced with sex messages like, “Last longer and BE longer for her.”

It should come as no surprise that kids at least 13 years old (yeah right) have MULTIPLE email accounts. Heck, ever since that doggone Al Gore invented the Internet, kids would much rather spend their afternoons and evenings updating their MySpace profiles, versus learning how and why they came to live in this great country of ours in the first place.

Computers have become a basic life necessity, somewhere on the level of having a telephone and nutritious food in the fridge. I, myself, having come from the mainframe generation, give MAJOR props to modern computers. They can easily handle tasks ranging from balancing your checkbook to sending a daily, automated “I love you” message to your mother.

In fact, with the way computers have evolved, until recently I considered talking via video IM equivalent to having a face-to-face conversation. I talk on the computer a lot, and I too am guilty of tuning my children out while doing so. Luckily, my daughters are 22 and 24, so the impact isn’t as severe as it would be for younger kids.

However, I found myself at odds the other day when my 22 year old sent me an EMAIL message about an important financial matter. It dawned on me, right then, that she felt the need to go through my COMPUTER in order to get my attention. She’s a computer science major, and so she understands about technology taking over people’s minds, and running their lives, and even acting as their significant other during times of severe loneliness.

We were able to resolve the financial matter very quickly (via computer I might add), and all was well in the household; no harm, no foul. Nonetheless, that otherwise insignificant incident was a wake up call for me–her mother–to give my fingers a well needed rest, and to give real life a chance.

Or at least equal time.

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