I am a technology fanatic! I especially love Apple products and I’m looking forward to when my Droid X contract expires in December. Then I can pay a reasonable amount to add an iPhone to my collection and complete my Apple trifecta (Macbook, iPad, iPhone). But enough about the best designed technology products on the planet…
Some colleagues of mine were recently trying to convince me of the value of knowing how to hunt, fish, and live off the land. I’m not buying it. Fun? maybe.. but not a necessity. They suggested I may need those skills if World War III breaks out or in case of the Zombie Apocalypse.
In contrast, I think that improving our ability to use technology effectively is one of the most necessary survival skills of our day.
While trains, planes and automobiles changed the way we travel and communicate, the internet has changed the way we RELATE to each other. We maintain digital relationships with people that we hardly know and sometimes neglect the neighbor next door as a result. Last week, I took a step back and noticed my daughter watching Netlix on our TV, my son playing with our iPad, and my other daughter on the iPod Touch while my wife and I remained glued to our Macbooks… all in the same room! While this paints a bleak picture of what technology has done to our relational lives, I think that our response to technology is far more important than the technology itself. Let me explain.
Technology in and of itself is completely inanimate. It has no thoughts, feelings, or opinions that we have to contend with. It can be used in whatever way we choose. I often hear people blaming technology for the downward spiral of relationships in their lives. They say that cell phones and Facebook have gotten in the way of real interpersonal connection. I say, DON’T LET THEM! Technology shouldn’t control you. You should control your technology!
I realize that this can often be easier said than done. When I noticed that my entire family was glued to some sort of screen, I had to take a step back and think about how we could better control technology. Maybe we could go for a walk sometimes. Or maybe we could go to the park. Maybe we could bust out the board games or play a game of cards. No matter what outlet you use, sometimes it is important to put the “i” down…iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.
In contrast, technology affords us an incredible OPPORTUNITY to IMPROVE our relationships as well, if we are intentional about how we use it.
Today, I sent my wife a text telling her that I love her. I arranged for us to go on a date this weekend and checked to see how her day was going. What took me minutes used to take days, sometimes weeks to accomplish! As a military family, we do not have the luxury of living near immediate family; but we are still able to be a part of their daily lives through Skype, email, and Facebook. I can wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day from my cell phone almost anywhere in the world and suddenly the thousands of miles don’t seem quite so distant. I’ve even downloaded some new games on the iPad that we can all play together as a family.
While I know that technology can sometimes be a relational burden, it also has the potential to bring us closer together. We just have to be intentional.
Are your relationships better or worse as a result of technology?
If you enjoyed this post, [SUBSCRIBE] to the blog in the left side bar for a faster and easier way to see when new blogs are posted.