Spending time with family away from the screen

Jereme Cobb

Jereme Cobb
Content Editor
@JeremeCobb

Technology can be a great tool. It’s a great way to quickly access information to learn about a vast number of topics. It allows us to do tasks much quicker, gives us more access to resources and helps us communicate with people from around the globe.

However, technology has its downsides.

Imagine you’re having a movie night with your friends. You laugh, eat a lot of food and drink way too much soda – but not a word is spoken. The entire night, you and your friends have been messaging back and forth on social media and text messaging apps.

While technology can be very useful, there comes a point when technology cheats us of meaningful experiences.

Now, imagine parents at their children’s graduation. They are sitting in the front row and filming the ceremony to document that moment forever. But at the end of the night, someone asks two of the parents, “Did you see the lady who walked before your son trip as she walked off stage? I felt bad for her.”

The parents had no idea what happened because they were so focused on the camera screen that they missed everything else. They didn’t have the full experience that others in the audience had.

An experience isn’t just taking in what we see and hear. It’s getting the butterflies in your stomach from excitement. It’s smelling the popcorn in a movie and feeling the seats vibrate from the sound explosions. It’s taking note of the tiny details that you’d never see in a viewfinder.

In short, an experience is being a human and living in the moment.

When we do want to be able to live in the moment, it can be difficult to do when we have to hold large cameras or other technology. While thinner and lighter devices help, wearable technology, while expensive, is a good alternative.

Wearable technology such as Google Glass has made it easy for people to record what they see without attaching themselves to a viewfinder. If we are being honest, though, the videos and pictures we take are really memory aids that help remind us of the good experiences we had. They aren’t the memories in and of themselves.

When the experience is over, you go home and share the videos on social media and then message friends about them. While chatting, your friend becomes upset, thinking you’re bragging. But you’re really just trying to share your experience with them. The messages just get lost in tech translation.

No matter how hard we try or want to think it, technology, like everything else, is not perfect.

Photo by Jacob Jardel

Photo by Jacob Jardel

Technology has come a long way, but it still doesn’t have a way to fully express emotion in text. Even services like Skype can still suffer from low internet speeds. Calls can help give emotional cues better than text, but nothing compares to face-to-face interaction.

Personally, I love using technology. But it still can’t compare to the real experience of sitting beside a loved one or friend on a cold winter night, sharing a couple of s’mores by a fire and having a heart-to-heart talk about the good times past, present and future.

Technology can certainly aid us in many ways, especially when it is not possible to be with friends and family in person. As with anything, though, moderation is key. Otherwise, you not only risk becoming addicted to technology, but you also risk cheating yourself and those around you of a memory that could have lasted a lifetime.

This holiday season, I hope everyone has some great experiences with loved ones, and I look forward to seeing the posts on Facebook. Personally, I’ll be catching up on a lot of movie watching and video game playing.

But be sure to save some time for card games and s’mores by the fire with the people around you.

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