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“Sometimes when you’re here, you’re not really here,” is a common complaint from today’s children.
Children from all levels of the economic spectrum seem to say this to their parents once in a while. It should strike a chord for every parent or grandparent. It appears that our technological advances have made grabbing our attention for more than a minute or two difficult. Cell phones and computers offer so many different ways now to divert one’s attention from the people who are present in our daily lives.
“I’m right here!” is too often the response to that modern-day complaint, as the adult keeps texting, talking, or playing games. The time-management experts might call it multi-tasking or social engineers call it connecting with friends or family, yet it is just another way to divert one’s attention. “Helps you connect and share with friends and family” one social networking site claims. Wow, who would ever think of questioning that? Our definition of family and friends broadens considerably in that online world.
It is when it hampers our social skills with those around us, that the caring and sharing goal changes. Detachment from daily life and a disconnection with others in the real-life setting are the first warning signals. The clue that this may be happening in one’s family is when someone makes the claim that you think you are giving your undivided attention to them, while you are busy responding to the needs of an online “family” at the same time.
Our busy lives don’t allow much unstructured “hang time” even when parents and grandparents are physically present in the lives of children. It seems as if we have all developed technological umbilical cords, which provide unlimited nourishment on demand. The “live, unplugged” musical concerts always been popular, even after the advent of music videos. It seems we might have to do just that in a new venue — the home. Imagine the possibilities of pulling the plug, so that no one in the family ever lodges that “now we see you, now we don’t” complaint again. firstname.lastname@example.org