Originally published by ThinkerMedia: BestThinking.com on March 19, 2011
The other day I had a sharp momentary panic when I realized I forgot my iPhone. I searched for it desperately. I called it. It was nowhere to be found. I felt naked, exposed, incomplete. I felt a hole in my world. I was suddenly in a silence — isolated and out of touch with what are surely crucial breaking news from my kids or patients.
The feeling is familiar – like when I forgot my wallet or keys — worry, tightness in the chest and a wave of hollowness in the pit of my stomach. That is what so many of us feel, as if, in the overall scheme of things, these devices are life-sustaining resources.
But wait a minute, unlike missing the wallet or keys, I suddenly feel a strange surge of relief. I can breathe easier now and feel lighter – a weight has been lifted. I am no longer tethered to a nagging persistent burden I had gotten so used to that I forgot was even there.
Hey, this is nice! I am not on call. I am free, like I used to feel as a kid walking out of school into my summer vacation. I will not be surprised or interrupted suddenly. I can take my time and enjoy the moment. I can stay connected in the present and hear myself thinking more clearly. I can relax with others and let go of all the noisy junk that my portable phone comes with.
There is an important lesson here.
Dr. Sherry Turkle in Alone Together offers a glimpse of how tech devices are insidiously permeating and probably damaging to our lives and making us less human than we can be. Studies are increasingly proving just how the consumption of media and communication with these devices are dumbing us down and degrading family life. In turn, my own book, Kids, Parents & Technology, provides a new way of thinking that empowers and educates parents and gives them the tools to manage their kids’ media lives for the overall health of family life and their development. Now FITGOALS® will be a hands-on application for parents and kids to enable parents to make for each child a healthy media plan.
One simple suggestion: Forget to carry your phone once in a while and enjoy the freedom. Carve out media-free times and places in your day, in your home, in your kids’ lives. Savor the freedom once in a while – the high heavens will not fall!
© copyright 2011 Eitan Schwarz