It dawned on me last week that people born when I was just entering high school are now entering high school themselves. After I finished being astonished and pouting a bit about just how old that made me feel, I started to think about all the things I didn’t have or do at 14 that most youth couldn’t imagine being without today.
They’ll never know what life was like before texting, when you could get separated from your friends at Wal-Mart and spend the next 20 minutes wandering the aisles trying to find them only to discover they were out waiting in the car.
They’ll never know what it was like to have an unknown song stuck in their head and actually have to wait until the radio announcer says the title and band instead of simply humming it into their phone, because there’s an app for that.
They’ll never know what it’s like to keep every mundane thing you did that day to yourself and only share the really funny, interesting or frustrating parts of it with loved ones face-to-face.
They’ll never know what it’s like to truly have time completely alone – without getting a text, tweet, HeyTell or any other kind of instant message from anyone at any time.
They’ll never know what it’s like to be free from the threat of online bullying, or to be able to do something stupid and not have to worry about it being documented by photo or video and posted online.
Sometimes I worry that they’ll eventually even forget what parks, playgrounds and toys that don’t need batteries or plug-ins are.
Compared to only 14 years ago, it’s a very complicated world we live in now.
I feel like I’m being rude if I don’t respond to someone’s text right away, but maybe as a society we need to make it known that it’s more rude to the people you’re with to constantly be texting back and forth than it is to leave the person on the other end waiting until you have a moment alone.
There’s an interesting video that’s been making its rounds on social media recently. It’s by a man from Britain with a very important message: get off your laptop, smartphone, tablet and every other time-wasting piece of technology (kind of ironic, considering the medium he uses to deliver the message).
Why is it so crucial that our posts on Facebook or Twitter get as many views as possible? When did we become so blind to how narcissistic it is to constantly use social media to report on insignificant information about our day, rant about how horrible our ex is and post selfies?
I’m all for announcing exciting news or sharing photos from a wedding or holiday. But when it becomes more thrilling to post an update on where you are and who you’re with than it is to actually be in the moment and enjoy private time with your present company, something is very wrong.
Put down your phone. Shut off your laptop or tablet. Go for a walk with someone. Take a weekend trip with the family where phones are only used when absolutely necessary. Call up a friend you haven’t physically talked to in too long. When that’s all done, pick up a book and enjoy time alone.
We may never go back to the way things were before we had every piece of technology at our disposal, but we can regulate how often we use it.
Because life is what happens while you’re busy posting and tweeting about it.