Week 3: Engaging True Connection
Day 21: Technology – A Frenemy to Connection
The other day I marveled when I read a really amazing facebook post a husband had written about his wife on their anniversary. When I talked to the wife about it, she said “he put that on facebook, but he never told me anything to my face.” Her disappointment was obvious as she described the lack of connection in their relationship.
True intimacy requires face to face connection. It requires eye contact, time, and focus. Technology can be a great tool to supplement true connection, but it cannot replace true connection.
Now, I must admit, I love technology as much as the next person. I love being connected instantly to information. I love texting people quick messages, it is convenient and gets right to the point. I have found that quick, encouraging texts to people throughout the week can be a great way to let people know I am thinking of them. And I absolutely love it when I receive a random text from a friend who is thinking about me and just wants to bless me. That blesses my socks off at times!
So how do we know if our technology is enhancing our connections or hindering them?
As my kids would say: technology is our frenemy. (I don’t know if that is really a word…) It can be our worst enemy or a great tool to connect – depending on how we use it.
Here are some guidelines to consider when using technology to connect with others:
1. Do we have electronic free zones? Everyone should have at least one zone during their regular day that is designated “electronic free”. This may be at the dinner table – the lost art of actually having real conversation during a meal. This might be in bed at night with your spouse This might be homework or play time with your young child. Electronic free zones help us focus on what is really important right in front of us.
2. Do I feel the need to respond immediately to every text/comment/email, etc? I find when I am spending too much time with technology, I almost feel itchy if I can’t check it right away and respond. That is when I need to remind myself that the world will not stop if I don’t respond immediately to every text. In fact, sometimes, I find my quick responses are not even the best responses. Thinking things through allows me to be more intentional, which lends itself to better connections instead of rapid fire responses.
3. What am I truly missing? Sometimes, we feel the need to check our phones or tablets because we are afraid to “miss out” on something. But are we missing out on things because we are on our technology? Are we missing our kids’ smiles? Are we missing our spouse’s attempt to engage us? Are we missing opportunities to smile at strangers in a waiting room? We may be actually missing what is right in front of us if we are engrossed in technology too often.
4. If I am willing to text or comment this, am I equally willing to say it in person? Anything we text or comment should be equally said in person. There are some things that are much more meaningful if they are said face to face. There are also some things that are more meaningful when the whole facebook world sees them. We need to be aware of both, and determine the best forum based on the situation, not based on convenience.
Challenge for Today: Reflect on your own use of technology. Is it enhancing your connections or is it hindering them? Are there ways you can use technology more effectively to create true connection?
Author: Janet Hoyt