From the Tops of Their Heads
I have been married for more than 34 years. I have four incredible sons. I thought I knew every inch of them but in recent years I have learned more of one aspect of their being than I ever thought I would. And I have technology to thank.
That aspect would be the tops of their heads. Because it seems that no matter where we are or whom we are with, their heads are bent over their cellphones. Whether surfing the web or checking their email, it appears that getting that information is infinitely more important than the people they’re with. I think it’s really annoying (can you tell?) and I know I’m not alone. Others I have spoken with have also shared that they have the same challenge with their family members.
Even television commercials have poked fun at the scenario. Have you seen the ad where the dad is sitting on the couch between his two daughters who are bent over their phones giggling and texting? Finally he asks if they’re texting each other (apparently they are).
Have you seen teenagers together? When I was growing up, if I was with my friends, we’d be laughing, sharing secrets or engrossed in conversation. Today if you see a knot of teenagers it’s probably pretty quiet. Why? They’re busy texting either their friends who are not there or those who are standing right next to them. Seriously.
Sadly, few parameters have been set as to when it is and is not appropriate to turn one’s attention to the cellphone. Aside from texting and driving, there are few “rules” as to when it is okay to dedicate attention to the handheld demon. But these rules come with strong graphics. It’s not hard to find videos on the Internet of people sharing their stories of either being injured or hurting someone else when they were driving and either talking or texting. Law enforcement can share story after story of those who hit, injured or even killed someone while driving and on their phone.
Perhaps society itself will rise up and dictate when it is suitable to text in social situations. A video was shared with me called “Look Up.” It ponders what social losses are suffered when people have their heads buried in social media. It’s a terrific video and what I particularly value was that a young woman sent the link to me.
Just two weeks ago, Don Henley of the Eagles told interviewer Charlie Rose that texting during concerts has many artists angry. He said that initially his group was one of few who raised a fist against texting during their shows. He added that there has been a backlash by other artists against concert-goers who text or film during the show. He said that it’s distracting not only for the artists but for those sitting around the offender.
For myself, it bothers the heck out of me when I’m sitting in church and see someone pick up the phone during the sermon. Really? You think that’s appropriate?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a lover of the Internet. I access it daily to get information for the paper, to do research or just have fun (I love a good cat video). And to be fully transparent, I admit that I, too, have taken a phone call or responded to a text during dinner. Generally it’s business-related – though that’s really not a good excuse. I try to be “in the moment” when I’m with someone though I’m sure there are friends and family who can easily point out times when I’ve gone into cyber-space.
However, I hope that it’s not often enough that they see so much of the top of my head that they can tell me when my roots are showing.