Has our technology surpassed our human interactions?

Has our technology surpassed our human interactions?

The other week my parents took my family out for breakfast. I was watching my daughter and son talking to my father and my wife was talking to my mother. I looked around the restaurant for a second and what I saw was incredible. In the entire restaurant there was not a single child (teen, young adult) who was not on some sort of iPhone or iPad. 20+ tables and everyone was ignoring everyone at their table and in their own world. Even the parents were not much better. Over 50% of the parents were on their phones. One table had 2 kids and 4 adults (+2 grandparents). Both the kids and all the adults were on their phones and the grandparents were just staring blankly at everyone.

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

I think we have reached that day. Our human interactions are clearly suffering due to the technology in our lives. Side note: this quote is often said to be Albert Einstein. It is not.

The Quote Investigator points out that there is no absolute evidence to prove that Albert Einstein ever said this.

The quote(s) in question was in fact derived from the 1995 movie “Powder“.  Near the end of the film, there is a dialogue between Powder played by Sean Patrick Flanery and a character named Donald Ripley, a physics teacher, played by Jeff Goldblum.

Donald Ripley: It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.

Powder: Albert Einstein.

Donald Ripley: When I look at you, I have hope that maybe one day our humanity will surpass our technology.

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So what do we do with this issue. Here are some thoughts:

  1. When you go out to  restaurant I think families should make a rule about technology. In my house we do NOT let our kids bring their iPads in. Eating out is a time for interaction between people. We will talk and engage in conversation throughout the meal. My daughter has an iPhone and she is allowed to bring it but she knows it will not be out the entire meal. Are there times you will check a phone for something during a meal … sure. You might be checking movie times for later that day or planning out something on your schedule. These things are short periods of time on your phone and you should get back to regular conversation quickly.
  2. We need have some time during the day where we are not “available” on our phones. I am trying to turn off my phone around 8:30-9pm each night. I will answer emails, texts and phone calls the next day when I get up.
  3. Even when we are at home I think we need these rules. I know some families who collect all the phones in a basket for dinner. One family I know put all the phones in a large pot and by mistake put then pot on the stove onto the hot burner. 4 melted iPhone 6’s later they have decided that they will not be using a pot anymore. 🙂
  4. I think that some families are so disconnected that you might need to work on conversation. How about each person at the table answers “How was your day today? Say something good and something bad that happened to you today?
  5. I think these things are great discussion in your yearly family meeting (see blog on family meetings here)

What rules do you have in your house?

Do you think we technology has surpassed human interaction?

 

About The Author

Brett Ullman

Brett Ullman travels North America speaking to teens, young adults, leaders and parents on topics including sexuality, mental health, men, dating and media. Brett's seminars engage and challenge attendees to try and connect our ancient faith with our modern culture we live in. Participants are inspired to reflect on what we know, what we believe and how our faith ought to serve as the lens through which we view and engage tough conversations in our society today.

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