We live in a tough world where technology trumps etiquette and rudeness prevails — often unintentionally.
The other day I was trying to tell my husband something at breakfast, but he didn’t hear me even though he was standing right in front of me. He was answering a text. A few minutes later, he asked me a question but I got distracted by a text and didn’t hear him. Later when we were talking about it, he remembered me not hearing him, but didn’t even realize he had done the same thing just 5 minutes earlier.
We don’t even notice what we are doing when our phone’s chirp and our attention is pulled away from the people we are with. And our kids are even worse than we are.
Years ago, when my oldest was in middle school, she was totally hurt by a friend who came to hang out with her but spent the whole time texting with other friends. After that, we had a great discussion about technology, phones and priorities.
Recently, however, I had to remind her of that conversation. She’d apparently been snap chatting with friends when she shouldn’t have, and it sent the wrong message to a friend she was with. She realized what she had done, but she also said that everyone does it now — it’s just the way things are.
She’s right about that. It’s common to see teens glued to their phones when they are hanging out with each other. And adults are almost as bad. I often catch myself checking my email and responding to texts when I’m out with friends. I do it without thinking, and friends often do the same thing.
We are so used to being constantly in touch and constantly interrupted, that it’s somehow acceptable to ignore people we care about to make sure we aren’t missing something. It seems like everything and nothing are a priority these days. It’s sad that this is what our society has come to.
I’m going to try to make a pledge to focus more on my friends and family and less on my phone. Hoepfully I can show my kids where my priorities are and where theirs should be too. I’ll let you know how it goes.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 15, Adam, 15, and Jonah, 11.