Call to me, shout for me, demand my attention.
Like a patient parent,
I greet your every attempt at communication with
encouragement, a funny remark, a gentle admonishment.
I take a picture.
Somewhere in the background
(Beyond your glowing touchscreen)
I notice my
Oh, look! They too are calling, shouting, demanding.
One, two, three, four souls.
And you, without even a flicker of life.
Hang up. Shut down. Power off.
Four souls need me.
You know how it is. A phone (iPad, in my case) dings with a notification. I stop what I'm doing to check it. A Kakao message from hubby! So sweet! (Gotta love technology!)
While I'm on there I notice that I have a few new emails. Must have missed those notifications… I wonder if the kids fooled around with the settings? Check settings. Fix. (Ah the thrill, the satisfaction of the quiet ding!)
Check 3 new emails. Junk, junk... Oh, the third is my favorite blog, just delivered to my inbox! Hooray! I'm a quick reader so I'll just skim. Oh. My. Gosh. It is too good. Just the best information ever and so insightful and wittily written. I write a quick comment. (Gotta support my favorite writers!)
I simply have to share it on Facebook. It’ll only take a second. When I get to Facebook, 3 friends have responded to my last (thoughtful and inspiring, if I do say so myself) status update. Just a minute or two to LIKE their responses and then post my own. (These are friends who care, obviously!)
Aaaand here comes a Twitter notification! Yippee! Someone "favorited" my tweet! Just a quick check to see what everyone is chatting about. Reply, retweet, close it up.
There. That didn't take long, right? No. Not really. Maybe 15 minutes. In the grand scheme of my life, 15 minutes is a small price to pay for making new friends, rejuvenating old ones, laughing over a good joke, or learning something new via the amazing Internet.
Now imagine what my child sees.
Mama: answering the call of the iPad.
Mama: smiling at the iPad.
Mama: laughing at the iPad.
Mama: swiping, clicking, murmuring, muttering.
Mama: not doing any of those things with me.
In my children's short lives, 15 minutes must feel like forever.
A big part of my fascination with all things social media is the desire to grow in knowledge and build and maintain friendships. Those things are not bad! Those things are wonderful!
I live far away from almost all of my family and friends. The internet has allowed me to stay in touch with those I love in ways that weren't possible even 10 years ago. I've also learned more about my faith and about other random-yet-interesting topics than I ever thought possible.
So to be clear: I don't think technology is evil. However, for me it often horns in, becomes a poor substitute for the relationships in my midst. And I know I’m not a bad person. I’m actually, most days, a pretty good mom. I love my children and my husband with all my heart. I think they know that.
But my husband and my children, the people in the room with me, should feel like they take precedence over the people in the computer.
Every. Single. Time.