This past weekend I went to a party. It was an amazing celebration for a couple of friends’ birthdays. There was a dj, lights, and a photo booth. There were balloons, fabulous decorations and candies for the loot bag. The party was filled with festive people talking, sharing and celebrating the birthdays. It was a happy time to share with friends.
There were so many people engaged. However, the children at this party were faced downward, unaffected. They were all engaged with their mobile phones. They were messaging, surfing, emailing, instagramming, and snapchatting. What I noticed most is that they were not interacting with their friends. They were not dancing or paying attention to the actual party. They were virtually removed and living in their two dimensional world.
What a pity. Where is this going to take them? Are they having fun at all?
At this party, there was so much to stimulate the senses. The music, lights, talk, food, dancing and laughing was everywhere. The children seemed to block all this out entirely. They behaved as though they had actually removed themselves from the party and environment.
Every once in a while a parent went over to the child and asked them to come meet someone or dance or go to the photo booth. They seemed so reluctant to be distracted with actual life. I noticed a child being dragged to meet a friend and as soon as they could, they went back to their isolation and mobile phones. I wanted to yell, “HEY, LIFE’S HAPPENING! WAKE UP AND PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!!!! It was so sad.
Over Christmas, I had the pleasure to go on a family vacation to Maui, Hawaii. Truly one of my most favorite places in the world. Talk about an inspiring environment! All my senses were engaged every day. I even got emotional from the beauty. It took my breath away and away day after day. I had to stop myself from writing because I needed to do other things like eat and walk.
Every day I found myself on the beach looking out at the gorgeous views. I saw other islands, turtles, waves, ocean water, rolling clouds, boats, birds, swimmers, and the occasional breaching whales. Perfection. The sounds of happy children playing in the surf were the sweetest little songs. So much to see, feel, taste, smell, and touch. But…again…what I also saw were many people constantly on their mobile phones. Even in this paradise!
I do understand that not everyone has the opportunity to totally disconnect when on holidays, but constant usage of your mobile device on the beach? What more do you need to live in the third dimension? I asked my children not to use their phones on this holiday. Most were able to detach. I begged them to appreciate the views, mountains, beach, water, as I occasionally screamed, “Whales at 1 o’clock!”
I asked my children to just appreciate life as we were living it in the now. Appreciate what we were experiencing now and not go beyond that. I was partially successful and partially unsuccessful. Perhaps I merely disappointed myself in realizing that the two dimensional horse has left the barn and I’m not on it.
How can there be so much more life in a mobile device than in actually living life?
At the end of the trip my youngest son told me that it felt good to detach and not be able to use his mobile phone all the time. I asked him what he liked most about our trip. He said it was the hike into the rainforest to see the waterfalls and his walk to see the turtles eating. Then again, he also liked sending all his friends snapchats of the famous people he met too! “Living in the 2nd or 3rd Dimension” could be my new column title.
Oh me, Oh my. Don’t you just love that Hula Pie…in your face!