Earlier this week, my wife and I took our children to Seaside for a few days of spring break fun. We stayed up late and told jokes. We walked on the beach. We flew kites and threw frisbees. We swam and played with beach balls in the water. We walked through the shops and took funny pictures in the photo booth.
We spent a lot of time together, enjoying each other’s smiles and experiencing all that Seaside had to offer. It was the perfect family getaway and I felt rejuvenated on our drive back home.
However, as I reflect on the experience, I am particularly disturbed by the invasion of technology on the family experience. Nearly everywhere we went, we saw children, teenagers, adults, and even seniors, glued to their smartphones and tablet devices. I remember feeling this same way the last time we went to Disneyland and it seemed like 95% of people were walking around entranced by their phones, rather than the magic of the happiest place on earth.
At dinner on Wednesday night, I noticed a family of 6 sitting near us, and every single member of the family was staring at their phone thumbing around, rather than speaking to and enjoying each other. In many ways, it made me sad to see what could have been a wonderful, engaging, memorable meal, play out as just another bite to eat filled with news feeds and emojis.
Thursday morning, we were walking along the promenade and I watched a young man walk straight into a pole while staring at his phone. BAM!!!! It looked like it really hurt too.
Thursday afternoon, I actually saw two young girls on their phones in the hotel pool. They must have been one of those newer waterproof models, but I couldn’t believe that these girls couldn’t put the phones down long enough to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned swimming!
What is happening to us!?!?!?!?
Now I’m not saying that technology is bad and that we shouldn’t use our smartphones and tablets. They do amazing things and can help out in so many ways in our day-to-day lives. But we miss out on so much with our loved ones when we are staring at a screen instead of each other.
If you are open to it, I’d like to make a suggestion to you and here it is.
Unplug from technology every now and again. Give your undivided, open, and honest attention to the people around you and see how it fills your heart. I promise you it will do you right.
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the topic and how you deal with this in your family.