Sunday, September 13, 2015

Technology, Connection and Modern Day Prisons




The above picture showed up in my Facebook feed this morning. It is an older Twitter post by the artist Banksy(click photo to be taken to his original post). It is an iPhone depicted as a prison.

I was frozen by this image.

At the moment that I came upon the picture, I was sitting in my bed with my two girls while they watched a Disney movie- waking from their slumber slowly and cuddled around me. I wasn't present in the moment as I should have been. These moments of my children's childhood are fleeting and I have been painfully aware of how quickly they are growing lately. Yet, instead of basking in the warmth of their cuddles and laughing at the cartoon along with them I was... on my iPhone.

My morning tradition has become browsing through my social media feeds while my first cup of coffee swims into my veins. Usually, I do so before my children wake up. However, it's not unusual on weekend morning for me to do this with a sleepy child on my lap.

Has my smartphone become a prison for me?

The thought swam through my head with fervor after seeing the Banksy image. I believe that it has. Social media has allowed me to connect with many people, both personally and professionally. It has been a blessing in many ways. But there is another side, isn't there?

I wonder if I am losing the ability to be present in my life, to experience joy without sharing it with my myriad of friends and followers. I no longer appreciate the beauty around me without pulling out my phone to snap a picture, edit it and post it to Instagram. If I have a thought which seems to me to be profound, I share it on Twitter. If my children have a program or a ballgame or a dance recitals, the photos are loaded onto Facebook for all to see.

I find myself wondering...

When is the last time I stood in front of a sight of great beauty and kept the image only in my heart and mind, trusting memory to hold it for me?

When is the last time that my children had a great accomplishment and I  did not share it publicly but instead trusted that my fervent praise and pride would be enough for my children, without sharing it with the entire world for their praise to be added?

When was the last time I stayed off social media for an entire day and trusted that anything that I missed did not matter at all? After all, important news always found its way to me before Facebook and Twitter, didn't it?

I am losing myself and many precious moments in the time spent in front of my phone, mired in the harsh light streaming from my iPhone and missing the life that is happening beyond the screen in the moments of now. 

The photo that I posted on Instagram of a summer's day cannot replace the memory. My memory is complete with the feeling of the blades of green beneath my bare feet, of the smell of summer- hot sun and sunscreen, of my heart singing with the magic of the day. And, I cannot have that memory if I stand at the corner of the world and hide behind a camera screen.

The status that I posted on Facebook of my child's latest accomplishment will never light up my child's heart. The moment spent writing that status would likely be better spent hugging my child and telling them how much I love them, accomplishments or not.

Browsing trending Twitter hashtags will not help me to better understand the world. If I want to have a better understanding of the world and the people in it, I must be present.

Here's to a life of breaking out of our many prisons, Dear Ones. Life is too short to be trapped inside anything that does not serve you. A life trapped in the hypnotic trace of social media is little life at all. I demand of myself to be more present and less a slave of modern, shallow connections. I want deep connections, moments of wonder and a life lived to the fullest.

 Let us all live every moment of today. 


6 comments:

  1. This is such an insightful piece. I try to make a conscious effort to put my phone down for my kids, but I love the point you make about taking in a beautiful sight and just savoring it instead of snapping a picture. I have been a slave to my camera long before the days of cell phones.

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    1. Thank you, S Marie. I am making the same conscious effort!

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  2. I love your thoughts on this! How often do we see people in a restaurant and they're all on their phones! I agree that we need to interact face to face... Eye to eye more!

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Michelle! Thank you!

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  3. Such a struggle that I feel will only get harder for the next generations to come. Awesome post

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  4. There are so many truths in this post. Well said!

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