Whew! The holidays of 2014 are behind you. By now, you are reeling from the aftermath of eating too much food for too much of the time, and the super stress that was November and December. You have time to sit back and look at the pictures from your family gatherings over the last few weeks, think about your relationships with the people you love and reflect on the year past. For many people, the beginning of a New Year is a time to fix the things that didn’t work in the past, to incite new household rules and to make positive changes for the year ahead. And one of those changes may be to make it a new rule in your home that there will be no texting or Facebooking on holidays.
Why? If you look back at all the gatherings and parties you attended over the past year, chances are you will realize that half of the people you were with had their noses tucked into a personal media device texting or Facebooking while they were supposed to be spending quality time with loved ones. And sadly, many of these people were not just the love struck teens who were grudgingly visiting Grandma’s house out of state. At every Kindergarten Christmas, party and light festival or family dinner there were likely hundreds of adults who were spending their time keeping tabs on the people in their life that matter the least – rather than spending their time with the people they are physically with, who matter most.
The enticement of social media has truly changed social graces for all generations. Years ago, it was considered rude to take a phone call in the presence of friends or family (or at the dinner table). You would never have told a person who was actually IN your presence that they had to ‘hold on or ‘wait’ so you could communicate on a cell phone or other PDA. And you certainly wouldn’t have sat in your grandmother’s living room with your fingers clicking away at QWERY keyboard talking to your friends about the little meaningless things in life. Sure, the invention of devices and platforms that make socialization incredibly easy are nice, and can make family moments be perceived as ‘less boring?’ But isn’t the point of holidays to be perceptually bored with family members? Only to look back later in your life at those moments to realize just how special they were?
There is no reason on Earth that people couldn’t start making rules about when it is acceptable to text or Facebook in the presence of others. In fact, in your family you might want to think about putting some limits and boundaries around the world of social media. If you are going out to celebrate with your family, is it really, so frightening – to consider leaving your PDA’s at home for a few hours, out of reach? Or at least turned off in the car while you are inside visiting.
What about hosting a social media free hour in your home that makes it against the rules to text or Facebook after a certain hour every night. Remember the days when it was considered rude to call someone after 9pm? This rule would essentially be the same thing, and all you would have to do is collect everyone in your households’ phone or Ipod and put them in a basket where they could not be used until morning. Do people really need to text and check status updates every 60 minutes (or more often) in order to feel that they are connecting with others?
Consider this. During the holidays, the number one hot items for sale are PDA’s in all sorts of forms and shapes. Every year, the technological market reaches out to millions of users with yet again, the best invention and best way to embark in connective computing. And each year, millions upon millions of dollars worth of these products are sold. Today, the average age for most kids tot get a cell phone and Facebook account is 10 years old (even though you have to be 13+ on Facebook). And kids are spending so much time in their virtual relationships that they are missing out on their real relationships with friends and family.
Even worse, is that this problematic and confusing habit is not something that is strictly confined to the young. Everywhere you go you are bound to find an adult who is glued to their PDA literally ignoring or tuning out the people that are physically in close proximity to them. The whole thing is a tad ridiculous and the least that people should do is learn to restrict Facebooking during holidays and other special times. Such as during dinner, or in restaurants, or during family time.
One thing that many people seem to overlook is that when they are buried in their Facebook status or text-messaging marathons, they are extremely difficult to be around. There is nothing worse (or ruder) than trying to carry on a real conversation when one person is constantly answering a text while you are talking, or glued to their Facebook status. And there is nothing worse than wasting time with family members and loved ones, and friends – by indulging in virtual relationships when everyone is physically together. It seems that the creation of connective options is actually working against humanity and separating the people that really matter most.
Are you ready to put some limits on how much you and your family members use your PDA’s during holidays and family events?