Is Technology Stealing Our Human Moments?

Saturday was “Daddy and Me Snow Day” at my 5-year old granddaughter, Elena’s school.  It was one of those events where they truck in snow and form it into multiple sledding flumes on a grassy hillside.  They also had a separate area for building snowmen and having snowball fights.

Dad distracted

Since Daddy was on a business trip, I got the privilege of taking her.

 Best.  Time.  Ever.

It was pretty chaotic, but really well-organized.  Dads and their kids would line up behind a roped-off area for sledding, while teachers handed out plastic sleds.  Elena went by herself first, then we went together, and finally we raced side-by-side (she won, of course).

Free hot chocolate and marshmallows kept everyone occupied, and teachers documented the event with their cameras.

A few minutes before it was over, they corralled everyone into a building where we sang a few songs and watched some dads get embarrassed on stage.  At the end, they showed the pictures they had been taking throughout the event so we could all see ourselves.

That’s when it got interesting.

One picture showed a line of dads with their kids, waiting in line for the sled run.  There were about 7 or 8 dads in line, and their kids were waiting with them.

Dad distractedAll of the dads – every one – was looking at their phone.

My first thought was, “Really?”

My second thought was, “Did I do that?”  Fortunately, I hadn’t this time – but I’ve done it many times in the past.

My final thought was, “Why do we feel the need to constantly stay connected, even while we’re at event that’s designed to celebrate our relationships with our kids?”

 

It used to be that when we had to stand in a line, we only had two options:

  • We could think.
  • We could talk to people around us.

Our technology seems to have replaced our thinking time where we ponder situations and come up with creative ideas.  At the same time, we don’t make casual conversation the way we used to, just for the simple pleasure of human connection.

Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of Crazy Busy says that two things are required to have a human moment:

  • Physical presence
  • Attention

With technology, we’re missing the physical presence

When we’re checking our phone while spending time with our kids, we’re missing attention.

Only 7% of our communication takes place through words.  38% is tone of voice, and 55% is body language.  So when we’re focused on our electronic communication, we’re missing 93% of what takes place in a human moment.

No wonder we misunderstand each other so often!  We’re communicating through words alone – transmitting information, but missing out on human connections.

I’m not faulting those dads.  I’ve done the same thing – it’s become part of our culture.

What I’m doing is recommitting to having human moments.  I want to look in Elena’s eyes and see her heart.  I want to watch the subtle facial cues that bond us together.

I don’t want an email relationship with the most important people in my life.

I want human moments with them.  And I want them as often as possible.

 

Agree?  (Comment below, or under “leave a comment” at the top of this post)

 

 

 

 

  • Phyllis McCall Jew

    Well said !

  • gracee

    We still don’t have smartphones. I often feel like we’re out of sync with technology (in the dark ages), and feel a bit apologetic that we don’t text. But I guess I ought to feel thankful I have one less distraction and to be “all there” wherever I am.

    • A lot of people are jealous of you! There are no rules that say you have to text . . . tell people you’re too busy having real conversations to text . . .

  • Phil Dickey

    Another good reason that I only have an old, simple, flip-phone. If it rings, I will answer it, Otherwise,it stays clipped to my belt. There’s plenty of time to check email when I’m sitting in front of my computer. Oh, and I don’t text.

    • That explains why, in the decades I’ve known you, you’ve always kept focused in conversations. (I think people are jealous . . . ) I’ve thought of getting one of those old foot-long Motorola phones with the mega-antenna to carry around, just to see how many people know what it is . . . ! Thanks, Phil –

  • Totally agree with this. I shared this on Facebook. This is going to make me more aware about constantly checking my phone or cherishing those special moments with family and friends.

    • Thanks, Barbara – It’s amazing that we understand this, but old habits die hard . . . !