To the person rolling their eyes because I'm on my phone:
There's a few things you should know.
Yes, there is a sad reality between technology and disconnectedness.
But you see, you're only looking at one side of the coin. My generation, though more engaged and "connected" than any generation before, is actually fighting the disease of time-wasting in front of screens. I am in a portion of this millennial generation who did in fact have to memorize my friends' home phone numbers (and their parents always answered the phone first) and spent all my summers outside. I rode my bike to my grocery store job when I was fifteen, and my parents never paid for my gas in high school. I even know how to write in cursive. Believe it or not, we don't like what society has become. You see all these new tools and gadgets and apps, and you shake your head in disgust that we are a generation immersed and obsessed with such products.
Some parents chalk technology and social media up as "stupid, time-wasting, and fake." That may be true when it's not used responsibly as a tool and a privilege. Sadly, by removing themselves from understanding it, and refusing to take part, their young children will never learn the safe and proper ways to use it. Their young children will be exposed to horrible images and bad websites, and inappropriate text messages that their parents will never know about. When these parents do learn about the things their children have been exposed to, they'll call it a stupid waste of time instead of learning how to teach their child the responsibility these devices come with.
By not understanding, yet using some of this technology yourself, you're falling into the thinking that you're not "one of us." But you use it too. And honestly, you don't use it well. You need to ask for help from us and we're willing to offer our assistance. We want to help you understand, save time, and ‘look up’ as much as possible, because that’s exactly what some of these new tools are reminding us to do.
Very few of the people you roll your eyes at have ever received a virus on their devices, because they know the difference between a safe link and an unsafe one. They know the apps that children shouldn’t use and how children can hide things from their parents… and we’re willing to teach you these things too, if only you’d stop rolling your eyes.
The next time you roll your eyes at me and others, consider a few things:
When you roll your eyes at my husband and I as we look at our screens side by side, you don't realize that we're comparing calendars to plan a camping trip for our anniversary.
When you roll your eyes the minute we pull our phones from our pockets, you don't realize my family that lives across the world just sent us an album of their most recent adventures.
When you roll your eyes because I've stared at my phone for ten minutes straight, you don't realize it's because I get to watch my niece's recital that I would otherwise not have had the chance to see myself.
When you roll your eyes because you think I don't make real connections online, you don't realize it was through those connections online that I met my real life friends who I see frequently and share my life with.
When you roll your eyes because I can't experience anything without taking a photo, you don't realize that those photos are creating an incredible, visual memoir of my life. Something that used to require an expensive camera and photo developing, is now less intrusive and cannot be lost or ruined.
When you roll your eyes because our work is so screen based, you don't realize it's because of those screens that we can work from home (or wherever we like) and actually spend more time together than apart. Our work fits around our life instead of the other way around.
When you roll your eyes... but then ask me to help you... do you see the message you're giving?
We've seen life with less technology, and life totally immersed in it. We see the benefits and the damage. We are learning how to use it constructively, but so many others use it to waste their time… including you.
Here's the thing.
You roll your eyes, but you don't see how it impacts the world in such positive ways. You don't realize that the people you're rolling your eyes at don't waste their time on Candy Crush and Facebook as much as you think.
It's because of technology I could design my own kitchen, order it, and actually build it with my own hands instead of having the work done for me. It’s because of technology, my husband can get the right item from the store the first time instead of having to make several trips. It’s because of technology that we haven’t stayed in a hotel for ages because we stay on the property of actual people, hear their stories, and make real connections (I’m talking about Airbnb).
Please person, do not misunderstand me. I know that the term “connected” has a different, and sometimes very “disconnected” meaning anymore. I know that the world online lacks the tangible beauty of the world around me. I know that it’s the simple moments, met with conversations and “disconnectedness” that truly make up this life. I know I have a lot of practicing-what-I-preach to work on. And I know you think it’s stupid. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because you haven’t seen the best of it yet. Maybe you’re using it wrong, so you think I am too.
But maybe, if you’d stop rolling your eyes, you’d notice what I do beyond my screens. You’d see a Christian who tries her darndest to share Christ’s love and encourage others. You’d see a faithful, devoted wife who prioritizes her husband to the best of her ability. You’d see a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend to countless wonderful humans. You’d see a person who loves animals and children and all things lively and bright. You’d see a hard worker who hopes and dreams and prays for the well-being of those around her. You’d see a person who cares, listens, laughs, and teases. You'd see someone who actually advocates for going "screen-free" as often as possible. In the same way that we choose to love one another, you can choose to see me in a light overshadowed by a screen-immersed world. But I sincerely hope that before you roll your eyes, dear person, you remember to show grace and humility instead.
And sure, I’d be glad to help you store your photos somewhere you won’t lose them.