Imagine a world and way of life where our children are all grown up and using technology for every single aspect of their day. How will they communicate? How will they know basic social skills if everything is done through a screen? Will people value relationships and human connection? How will our children parent their children?
These are questions I ask myself often, and it’s because that world is not far away. In fact, I think we’re already there.
Social media is becoming the end-all-be-all for how somebody validates who they are. Adults and youth alike are using a numbers game of likes and followers from pseudo acquaintances to derive self-worth. Hours upon hours are spent staring into screens to edit photos, interact with the different platforms, and create a “real-life community” through a phone. Is this the future of friendships?
And beyond social media, technology is making it easier by the day to avoid facing humans.
You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep. Online retailers ship anything and everything from clothing to household items to your house within 2 days (including Sunday!). Malls and brick and mortar stores are going out of business faster than ever due to the convenience of shopping online. What will our towns and cities look like when there are no places to physically go shopping?
Working out from home while looking at an instructor through the TV is the new craze which eliminates the connection and socialization people once found at the gym.
The entertainment side of technology is just as addictive.
There are the ever-so-addicting, commercial-less shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, YouTube (and so on…) that are readily available and targeted towards each and every age group and individual. Will our kids have to live vicariously through the actors’ interactions in order to experience socialization?
If you really think about your normal day, how many hours are you spending staring into a screen?
In the United States, people 18 years and older spend an average of over 11 hours on screens every day. If we’re sleeping for 8 hours, that gives us 5 hours per day not behind a screen.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am a big technology fan. As a strategist in the social media and digital marketing industry, it is literally my job to get people to look at screens. I think technology allows us to be much more efficient and allows us opportunities to maximize our time every day.
But I am an even bigger fan of real-life connections. I am worried that as these technology trends keep amplifying, our children are not going to be able to have the skills, opportunities, or experiences that we grew up with and have today.
Finding the balance between technology and connection is more important than ever.
Use technology so you can add more time to your day for interacting with your kids. Lead by example and show your children that you don’t need to be staring at a screen all the time. Get outside, explore, and get together with your family and your friends so your kids can learn that the best memories don’t come from technology; instead, they come from being around others.
Let technology add value to your life without letting it be your life. If we can all learn how to do this, we might just change the world for the better for our kids.
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