Human Interaction – An Innate Need for All
When is the last time you were away where Wi-Fi or the use of your cell phone was impossible? Maybe you went camping in the mountains or served the poor in a remote village? Maybe you went on vacation where it wasn’t accessible? Do you remember the feeling of freedom? Did you feel like you had all the time in the world and space to think, feel and enjoy your experience?
So much of our lives today involve technology. We text instead of call, email instead of write, and post on social media sites to communicate what’s going on in our lives. We rarely have meaningful human interaction with people around us. Our social gatherings include a drink in one hand and a cell phone in the other. We are often distracted and not fully present. Children pull on their mother’s shirt to get their attention as moms text their BFF’s or pin one more thing on Pinterest. We are a distracted society that sees multitasking as a normal way of life.
But in all this multi-tasking what do we miss out on while we post, text, tweet or pin our days away? What do we not see? What can we not hear? What are we not present for?
These hand-held devices are a necessary part of our social and business lives and they add a lot of conveniences to our days. Reminders, instant contact with clients or coworkers, family or friends and access to emails are just a few. We stay in touch with others as they travel the world, launch new business products or communicate their innermost feelings. But these devices also take us away from what matters most. We are created to have human interaction with others. It’s an innate need for all of us. And often times, we trade off a deep human need because of busyness or distraction from these devices we all deem necessary.
Family nights become filled with arguments as parents declare “device free” times. Teens and students are so connected, that taking time to disconnect from the internet begins to create anxiety and a sense of loss. Spouses feel neglected as “one more email” is drafted from home over dinner because of a pressing deadline. Business meetings, interviews and conversations are interrupted by notifications, texts and reminders, distracting us from the person sitting across the table from us.
So how do we find balance?
Devices and computers are a necessary part of life for most, but how do we work and yet make sure our lives are balanced? Here are a few suggestions you may find helpful:
Schedule a “device free” time each day. Find times throughout the day to turn off the phone or computer in order to make time for yourself or others in your life. Go for a walk outside, but turn your notifications off so you can look up at the sky, soak in a sunset, or stop and examine a beautiful flower in the middle of the woods.
Set cell phones aside or turn the volume off when out with friends at a restaurant or while having an important conversation with a family member or spouse. Create a game that the first person to reach for their phone foots the entire bill or the first family member does another person’s chore.
Have all family members turn off cell phones during dinner or meals in order to have a meaningful conversation to connect relationally. Quality time is undistracted listening and talking to one another.
Turn cell phones to airplane mode when driving so you don’t potentially put yourself or others in danger while you drive.
Turn your “do not disturb” feature on at night, so you aren’t woken up by a friend’s text or phone call. Once you have gone to bed, your device shouldn’t be a distraction.
If any of these suggestions cause anxiety in you, you may be a little “too attached” to your phone or device. Start by doing one or two of the suggestions and work your way to include as many or all of them that work in your day. Technology is great, but don’t let it take over your life. We need other human beings to talk with, interact with and BE with. We are human BEINGS for a reason!
Pam Lozano is part of the Jennasis and Associates team as a blogger, creative writer and editor. She is also the Founder/Executive Director of Pure Design Ministries & Magazine. Pure Design Ministries exists to inspire next generation women to live authentically. Pure Design Magazine is a magazine for teens by teens to inspire girls in areas of purity, modesty, self image and self worth. Check out her websites at: puredesignministries.com or www.puredesignteenmag.com for more information.