Do you ever feel like you are missing out on important moments in life because you are distracted by social media? Do you think technology and social media consumes too much of your time? Two of our writers share their opinions about living in a social media age where everyone is connected 24 hours a day.
I got a call from grandmother this week asking me to get lunch with her, and like the sweet granddaughter I am, I readily agreed. Most of our meetings are upbeat and inspiring, for the most part, but this one was not. Something was off, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
After endless attempts and small talk that usually lasts for hours and is filled with “remember whens” and moments of candid laughter, I finally obtained the courage to ask what was wrong. Before answering my question, my grandmother took a long sigh and folded her hands together rather tightly. These nervous antics increased my curiosity.
“Well, Sissy, your brother just doesn’t pay attention to me anymore,” she said.
I was taken back. My brother had always been close to my grandmother, as was I when I was his age.
“John is always on that phone texting or with his headphones in. I don’t know what he does on that thing,” she asked, with such concern.
I nodded in agreement because I could see where she could feel neglected because of my brother’s borderline obsession with social media. Then I thought about how depressing and unfair that was to my grandmother. My grandmother would drive an hour and half just to see him, and he chooses to play on his phone instead of spending quality time with her.
After thinking about this and moments of earth-shattering silence, I become very upset. As I a child, my grandmother and I did everything together, and some of my most beautiful childhood memories involve our fearless adventures. I began to cry as I took all of these feelings into account. My grandmother joined in, and we cried in unison in the Chili’s booth, which was a very honest, but embarrassing moment for the both of us.
So I called my brother, and I was ready to give him a piece of my mind. When I tried explaining to John the way my grandmother felt and how he should appreciate his time with her, he shot back, informing me that he went and ate with her once a weekend: “Was that not enough?”
This infuriated me beyond words. I politely said, “No, it is not.” My tone was cold with an obvious hint of annoyance. Then there was complete silence.
My brother has let social media consume him, as my grandmother counts her years left of this earth with one hand.
Have you ever been to dinner with your friends or family and, all of a sudden, looked up to see that everyone is on their phone? You all agreed to dinner. No one is forcing you to be there. So why is it that if we all want to be there, we choose to be on our phones instead of engaging in conversation with one another? This is where the phone stack comes in.
The phone stack is a simple idea. It’s one my entire family uses on vacation, at dinner, or anytime my parents find it necessary. It’s exactly what it sounds like – everyone stacks their phone at the center of the table until the meal is over.
At first, we hated the idea. We thought it was just our parents being annoying and trying to control our data bill. However, once we started the phone stack, we realized how much better our meals were. We actually talked to one another. There wasn’t a delay in a reply to each other, waiting for someone to reply to a text. No one had to worry if they were going to have an embarrassing picture/video Snapchat of them while they were eating.
I learned to appreciate the phone stack. I began initiating it while I was out to dinner with my friends. If I noticed no one talking because they were all staring silently at their phones, I’d put my phone in the middle of the table and stare at each of them until they followed.
I have thought about writing this on Instagram or Snapchat, because I feel those are the most often used forms of social media. I then begin to think of how often I use those apps. How many times a day do I press their icons on my homescreen of my iPhone? Then I began to wonder how many times other people do that as well.
I looked around the room, searching for a face not lit up by a phone screen. In a restaurant of 40+ people, the only ones not on their phones were employees. I began to think about my family, and what my parents would do if they had been there. I looked at my two friends and sat my phone down in the middle. Can you guess what they did next?