Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Midweek Reflection: "Knowing When to Connect/Disconnect"

We live in a new era. While wireless waves free us from cables and hardwired connections, they enslave us to the digital device. What's troubling is not how the technology pulls us away from our human interactions but how much we gravitate toward the technology even without the device asking for us! No longer must we contend with the external prompts and ringing interruptions we get from time to time. There is a more formidable contestant. This contestant is inside, not outside; not externally-driven, but internally propelled; not unwillingly but willingly. That is none other than ourselves.

Check out the following from the book by Catherine Steiner-Adair, Disconnect.

TITLE: The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age
AUTHOR: Catherine Steiner-Adair
PUBLISHER: New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2013, (378 pages).

"In my interviews and focus groups with children as young as four years old, kids have told me how disheartening it is to have to vie for their parents' attention and often come in second. They describe feelings of isolation, loneliness, anger, and sadness around the waiting game. Or a parent's routine multitasking through bedtimes, mealtimes, and playtimes that were promised as 'mommy and me' or 'daddy and me.' Now tech makes three, and most of the children couldn't remember a time when it wasn't that way at home.

Alex, the father of a three-year-old and two older children, quit his executive-level job for less pay and less pressure when he realized that the continuous multitasking demands of his job made uninterrupted time with his children impossible."

I could look them in the eye and have a conversation, but I realized that I was not having that conversation with my whole head. It was like 2 percent of it because I was thinking about the next email coming in or the other things I needed to do, and was so addicted . . . I was 0 percent present, really. I could see it in their eyes. They knew I wasn't realy there with them. It was awful, but I got so used to it. I'd say, 'I'm sorry' and I'd take a call or get up midgame to check my email.
(Catherine Steiner-Adair, The Big Disconnect, HarperCollins, 2013, p114-5)

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