Digital Living

Staying Connected on a Human Level in the Age of Technology (from a Baby Boomer Perspective)

Technology is a wonderful thing.

I am a member of the Boomer generation, and while I try to keep up with all the Millennials who probably have never experienced life without technology in their grasp, there are times I feel overwhelmed and disconnected.

That sounds like an oxy-moron.

The very thing that keeps us connected to the rest of the world through millions of apps, (2.8 million for Android and 2.2 million for Apple as of March 2017,) and websites has me feeling disconnected.

I’m not against technology. I have a Smartphone, a computer, an iPad, even a Smart TV, and I use them all every day.

Our devices have become a third leg, we don’t go anywhere without them. I’m guilty of that as well. I feel lost without my iPhone, check it first thing in the morning and keep it nearby at all times. And of course, I’m not the only one. Almost everywhere you look, people are staring at their phones. Some use it for entertainment, others reading the news, or checking out the latest shopping deals; the list goes on and on. There really is a good, bad and ugly of Smartphones.

Many people probably don’t even remember a time when people struck up conversations in line waiting to buy movie tickets. They either have their faces glued to their phone, or they have bought the tickets . . . ONLINE!

We have become content to spend more time alone, our only companion our hand-held devices.

Or, when we are with others, we’re not engaged in conversation because we are checking Facebook, Tweeting or Texting. What has happened to our human connections?

The question then becomes:

How can we use technology to stay connected?

There are so many cool apps and devices that can keep us in touch with one another. More than I can list. More than I have tried. More than I will ever hear of and try.

But that’s not the point.

Whatever technology tool you use to get together with people, use it solely as a tool and then rely on human interaction.

Be present with each other. Sure, use your phone to text, set up meetings or social events, but when you are present in each other’s company, BE PRESENT. Take a picture, post it on Social Media and put your phone away. Make eye contact, smile and have a real conversation.

I get there are situations where you can’t physically be together and have those in-person experiences. And that is where technology is a real plus.

Skype or other technologies such as Google Hangout and Zoom where people who don’t live in the same town or even country can see each other are amazing for connecting.. Not only are these services available through your computer, but with a Smart TV, programmed to access the Internet – you can interact with friends and family on the big screen.

Even video games that are played online that allow users to chat with each other have value in connecting the players to each other.

But here’s the key to really connecting. If your phone is in your lap and you are constantly looking at it, chatting with others, posting to social media, shopping online, etc. then you have missed the point of being present.

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