I sat down for dinner with roommate tonight. We were deep in conversation before we realized that we weren’t actually talking. We were texting back and forth and laughing together in a group iMessage that we were both a part of.
This happens all of the time. Still, I preach that it’s important to be fully present wherever you are.
This past summer I had the chance to learn, serve, work and live with other college students from RDU and beyond. After long days, I have great memories of spending time together back at our apartments. Sometimes spending time together looked like this:
My initial reaction is critical. In my book, people matter most, and a simple way to show them that you care is to look them in the eye, hear them out and then ask more questions. After all, the people in this picture don’t get to see one another every day anymore. However, I don’t think time spent like this is necessarily a complete waste. If I remember correctly, we were all looking at the same thing, posting back and forth and laughing together. It was fun. Granted, I can think of an extensive list of things that are more fun, but this was fun, too. Also in my book, you gotta have fun every once in a while.
I want to be a person who thinks critically about her choices, but I don’t need to be hyper-critical. I remain a firm believer in quality time and conversations that don’t involve a screen. To believe this, however, I don’t think that I also have to say that social media and technology are destroying our relationships. My class media diet exercise was helpful because it increased my awareness of the amount of time I spend on media and the ways in which I use it. If we know our priorities, and are aware of our tendencies to stray from them, I think we can indulge in some guilt-free tech time.
A note to future City Project students: If they take away your cell phones, I am (mostly) sorry…