picture from www.eatathomesociety.blogspot.com
While scanning news websites yesterday morning with a cup of coffee I found an interesting article about a local restaurant that was considering putting a ban on children playing with electronics at dining tables. The owner was making this rule because family dinner is a very important time of the day for conversation, not mention it poses a safety hazard when children don’t look where they are going. The article and this restaurants possible ban was a controversial issue with 255 people sharing it on facebook, and 228 comments. The article has a response from a Family Association president who points out that electronic toys can be useful in restaurants since children aren’t always part of the conversation (especially younger ones) and can become bored easily.
After reading the article I began thinking more about young people using social media than small children playing a game. I noticed recently in my own life that its common when going over to a friends house to spend a few minutes in conversation and then start playing with my mobile phone. Within about forty-five minutes four or five people would be sitting around a table engrossed in a game, pictures, or posting things online instead of talking to one another. Thats probably not because we don’t actually want to sit down and talk with one another, but using social media or an app is just more fun and exciting.
Actually the desire to be constantly connected with our phones or other electronic devices has to do with something called the “tethered self.” I learned about this after read The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice. Basically it means that a person is permanently attached to their social media and has to be checking it constantly, many times this has to do with a deeper problem of finding self-worth through things like facebook or twitter. While being heavily involved in these things isn’t a problem, choosing a mobile phone over personal conversation is something very dangerous. The article yesterday and the conversation it started challenged me to put my phone on silent, or maybe even turn it off and take the time to have a real conversation with friends. It may not be as fun as playing a game, but will develop friendships that go deeper than a status update.