I joined Facebook and Twitter several years ago, after purposely avoiding social networking for many years. As a therapist who did a lot of work with couples, I had a skewed perspective of how social media effected relationships. Too many affairs have been started on Facebook, chat rooms and even via interactive video games. Since I have participated in Facebook, I realize the benefits. I joined as a way to connect with college friends I had not seen in years. I then realized many other friends I could keep up with from other times in my life, and I found this to be quite enriching for my life.
However, I have become aware of new problems associated with our tendency to use electronic means of communication and connection. The issue is that, so often we get so into our electronics, that we forget to connect with the people right in front of us. I have seen too many situations, where individuals are in physical attendance with someone, but they are distracted by their device. I've even seen this happen at my church. I know it happens in homes across the country. And yes, I have frequently been guilty of this myself.
So we really need to do something about this. Here are my suggestion. 1) Make meal times no device times. The phones, ipods, whatever, must be absent from the room. 2) Take mini vacations from the devices. Turn them off for an hour, day or even a week if you can. 3) Make a point of spending quality time with your spouse and family members, every day. Again, no devices.
These are just a few ideas. There are many ways to go back to a time (not that long ago) when these distractions didn't exist, and connect with the important people of your life. The common element of these scenario's is the simple absence of the source of distraction.