There is absolutely nothing keeping me from blogging. I just don’t do it. I don’t make time for it. Sheesh! I think one reason is that there is so much media readily available: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, emails, iPhones, texting, messaging, face-timing . . . so much, that actually stopping, sitting down, gathering my thoughts and typing, just seem so time-consuming anymore. Everything is so, um, just so instant. Like, I don’t even know the last time I wrote a letter or wrote a card! And, yet whenever I receive one, it means the world to me. Someone actually stopped and wrote, and put a stamp on and mailed ‘conversation’ — real words — to me!
And those same factors . . . Facebook, texting, . . . diminish my need to share anything more. I feel like anything that I blog about, I’ve already shared with a multitude of family and friends in the more ‘instant’ form.
I drove to the hospital on Tuesday to share the birthing experience of Lincoln with Mikelle and Logan. That was a wonderful time, and opening my arms and heart heavenward to receive their perfect little bundle of joy was extraordinary. While on my way, I listened to a fascinating program on KSL’s The Browser. Those of you who know me, know that I listen to talk radio at large and rarely listen to music. I couldn’t tell you what was on any of the top music charts.
The topic on The Browser was about conversation and more specifically, about reclaiming conversation. Fascinating! It was about the nearly-lost art of conversing. It was about those of us who read Facebook during Sacrament meeting or text during a funeral. It was about those of us who are on the giving and receiving end of being interrupted in a face-to face conversation by a beep in a nearby back pocket and being put on hold while the other person checks their device. It was about dinnertime when people no longer look up or make any kind of eye contact. It’s about being lonely in the very same room or having someone text us from the next room.
And it was about screen time for children. Some children who are two years old spend as much as two to eight hours a day looking at screens! While I was at the hospital waiting outside the room for ‘the moment’ I googled some things that went along with what I had listened to.
“Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”
This seriously hurt my heart!!!
And another part of the same article said that children today are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media. Seven hours! Can you even imagine! Kids need to play, and run, and paint and do puzzles, and need to have hobbies and use their imagination!
I’ve worked in the school system for almost thirty years and I can see the effect of too much media. People are junkies! You cannot convince me that media isn’t the same as a drug. The kids who have so many problems in school are the same kids whose parents propped them up in front of a TV or a VCR or gave them a phone at age 12.
The other day someone came to eat lunch with me at work. But, their phone’s variety of little-cheerful-message-sounds kept going off and I have to say I felt invisible every single time the other person chose to read their latest and greatest message instead of face-to-face and eye-to-eye communication with me.
My point? I’m not exactly sure why I have thought so thoroughly about this topic for five days now. Perhaps it’s guilt. I want to do better at actually looking at people and talking to them. I have NOT been good! I’ve had my kids answer phone calls — long before cell phones! They made calls for me. They asked people questions for me. I find it easier to text something than actually speak to people. But on the same note, I’m extremely annoyed when someone texts me about something really, really important! I’m like, Hello! What if my phone was dead??? Or turned off??? Why do people just assume I’m going to get their message?”
For a great read about this whole subject, check out Sherry Turkle’s call to reclaiming conversation. Chances are it will hit a nerve with you, too.