Does Your Smartphone Build or Kill Your Connections?
This is a question I ponder every now and then. I’m a person who strongly believes in the magic of online connection building. I write about it often and share lots of personal stories about the many ways that I use technology to nurture relationship and grow personal and business opportunities. I thrive when given opportunities to be socially creative and connected.
Despite all the greatness of building these online connections, every now and then I worry that I’m somehow messing with my personal, face to face relationships in ways that I don’t yet quite understand. I wonder what it means for my kids and other people’s kids too. I worry that my family doesn’t connect enough. I consider if too many of us are confusing “being present” with “sharing” the moments that matter the most ~ with virtual strangers. To me the lines are grey and the water’s murky when it comes to all of this; so I find that I’m contemplating more and more about the impact of all this social connection.
This video which features Charlene deGuzman came out about a week ago. It’s called I Forgot My Phone and it has already had millions and millions of views. Clearly, it’s struck a chord with people. Smartphones are amazing; no doubt about it. However are we using them in ways that compromise our personal connections? Are they endangering our relationships?
Nick Bilton wrote a good post on the New York Times Blog about the video. One of the quotes that stood out to me was this one:
Ms. deGuzman’s video may have landed at one of those cultural moments when people start questioning if something has gone too far and start doing something about it.
I think Nick is right, more and more I’m hearing questions and conversations such as this. People are increasingly wondering where the line is. The dinner table has lost out to technology. Bedrooms are no longer personal spaces. A staggering number of people are within arms reach of their smartphone 24/7. Children compete with technology for undivided attention from their parents. Many spouses and partners are connecting more online than in real time. Kids are learning to make social connections before face to face friendships. All of this is concerning; yet increasingly the norm. This is indeed a worry.
Remember to “Look Up”
Yes, building connections matters. People matter – no matter how you are connected with them. Just remember that in this increasing age of social connection building, it’s essential that you also nurture your real world family and friends too. Face to face interaction is critical. Being present is important. It’s essential that you look up from your smartphone when your walking around in your community and talking to people. We all need to serve as role models for those who don’t yet understand this.