Saturday, October 25, 2014

Effort asks social media users to leave screen time behind

5/12/2014

Harry Chapin’s song, “Cats in the Cradle,” told the tale of a father missing his son’s life because he was too busy and then later his son following the same pattern and being too busy for his dad.

That same message — though told with an emphasis on technology being the distraction from real life — is making the rounds on a video entitled “Look Up.” You can watch it yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY

Harry Chapin’s song, “Cats in the Cradle,” told the tale of a father missing his son’s life because he was too busy and then later his son following the same pattern and being too busy for his dad.

That same message — though told with an emphasis on technology being the distraction from real life — is making the rounds on a video entitled “Look Up.” You can watch it yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY

The poetic video tells the story of a man speaking to people online every day, yet no one really knows him. The person behind the video, Gary Turk, explains that social media — and its related devices — is only fueling an illusion of community, friends and inclusion.

The video poet contends we crave adulation while ignoring the social isolation, which both are outcomes of constant social media usage. He rationalizes we are most happy with experiences we share instead of enjoying the singular one-on-one experiences complete with eye contact and focus on who we are with.

Today’s mobile phone, tablet and computers — used too much — can become “devices of delusion” making people believe they have more and better authentic relationships, friends and connections than they really do. The point of the video and its message are important not only to the younger generation, who have grown up tethered to technology, but also to adults who often are distracted by technology and not truly engaged with their own family members. Too often, when people open up a screen to virtual people, we also shut a door of access to real live people.

If you don’t look up, you don’t know what you are missing. That’s the message at the heart of the video, which puts a new twist on an old axiom on a new platform. Being engaged person-to-person matters to kids, adults and everyone else too.

Research supports the notion of social disconnectedness leading to loneliness, as well as mental and physical health issues. Personal connectedness and getting together socially are important factors for living a long and contented life. Whether meeting people at church, school, on the job or in civic groups and volunteer activities, having a personal connection outside of the sometimes-faux relationships online offers a surer bet for happiness.

“We’ll get together then, son/You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher

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