Saturday, July 4, 2015

                                        TECHNO-Phobia Good or Bad?

     When we realize that there are at least two generations who have been raised on I-pods, I-Pads, I-phones, streaming and other devices I have yet to recognize, it begs the question:  Is this progress? 

     While waiting for a friend at a local coffee shop, I looked over and spotted a family of four, each attached to a different device. It was a nice-looking young family, and I thought to myself, if there is a photo that represents this generation, here it is. It would be absurd to proclaim that I don’t get it, but I do. 

     The Dad was on his computer, maybe working? The mom was on her i-pad working? reading? emailing? The kids were each on a device I couldn’t see, but one had big headphones and the other little ear plugs, so I assume they were I-phones of some kind. No one was talking.I looked over a few minutes later, and they were speaking to each other, but their devices were still in hand.

     My old-fart generation wonders how these people can function/communicate without their devices. Maybe they can, maybe not. When I’m on a plane, I’m thankful for this technology which makes flying actually quiet, one of the only positives in the air these days. When I’m at a restaurant, people are on their devices, so it’s quiet and pleasant. On the other hand, when I want to talk to one of my grandchildren, I have to scold to get him to put his phone down. When I want to talk to my younger daughter, I have to ask her to put her phone down so I have her attention. Mr. Wonderful yells at me sometimes when I am checking messages when he’s trying to get my attention. Is this a problem or a luxury? It depends on your perspective, I suppose.

      A few days after spotting the 4-device family, I was meeting another friend for coffee at another venue, and we both had forgotten our phones. It was the first thing she said to me because the power had gone out at the place we had planned to meet, and she couldn’t reach me. I realized half way there that I had forgotten my phone, and I would, unfortunately, have to return home to get it before going to a later appointment. Who’s addicted? As I no longer wear a watch (I check time on my phone), I had to peer at a guy’s watch across from us to check the time. 

     I love my I-phone. It calms me when I’m stressed (Calm app). It offers me a place to write notes and keep my to do list. It plays music for me when I’m looking to rock. It allows me to communicate with people near and far at any time of the day without bothering them. It gives me the weather forecast which is occasionally accurate. It answers questions to just about anything. It can reserve a table at a restaurant, book a hotel, get a cheaper flight and help me find where I’m going. It can record in photos anything I choose, and it can even record my voice if I want to store some ideas for my next speech. It keeps track of how many steps I take and how many calories I burn. What one device could do all that ten years ago? It’s amazing. The trick is to not allow it to become a body part. 

     If there was a fire, I can honestly say, I would head for my phone before my jewelry drawer. I would grab my device before my photo albums. I would pocket my phone before grabbing my stilettos—now that’s really telling. Hmm. Good or bad?