More and more, I find myself growing concerned with what technology is doing to our society.
Yesterday afternoon, while sitting in a restaurant, my eyes were drawn to a young man who came in alone, wearing a hoodie and a pair of sunglasses that hid most of his face and head from public view. He wore long sleeves and had gloves on. Pretty much, the only part of him you could easily see was his forehead and the portion of his face from just below his eyes down to about his chin.
He sat at a table alone — unless his laptop counts as company. Every now and then his glasses would slip down a little bit and his eyes would be visible. He would look around the room, nervously, as if he hoped no one was noticing him.
From time to time, he would get so engrossed in his laptop, that he would forget anyone else was in the restaurant. He would have the sound turned up loud enough we could hear it from several tables away. He would laugh out loud. He would dance around in his seat like he had just won an award of some kind. He would make comments out loud about whatever he was watching or playing. Basically, once the young man stopped fearing the other human beings in the restaurant, he somehow seemed to forget their existence altogether.
Is this something new? No, it’s not! When I was a pre-teen, I can remember going through different stages in life. Sometimes I wanted to be outside playing with friends all day, every day. At other times, I’m talking about for weeks on end, I would want to do nothing but play the Nintendo. I had a television set in my bedroom and I would be content sitting in there playing video games all alone for up to six hours at a time. To me, that was fun.
Looking back, I regret the amount of time I wasted. I could have been outside enjoying God’s creation. I could have been exploring, joking, laughing, and making memories with my friends. Instead, I played video games. What kind of memories are those? I could have been out winning souls to Christ. I could have been reading and giving myself an education. But no, I thought it was a better investment of my time to try to see long I could stay alive in a game before I had to start all over again. I could have been exercising to get bigger muscles. I could have been developing some athletic abilities. I could have done something with the gift God had given me for writing. I could have been studying my Bible, praying, and trying to grow closer to God. But no, the video games were more worthwhile.
Today, for many, it’s both video games and social media or one or the other that keeps people in the state of being hermits. Their primary contact with the outside world is via computer or some form of technology. Drive around. Pay attention to how many people you see playing outside. Look and see how many folks are sitting on their porches – and no, sitting there alone smoking cigarettes doesn’t count, but see how many people are out on their porches talking to their friends or neighbors.
Folks… I would like to encourage you to stop allowing electronics to replace your relationships with people.