I attended a 3-day meeting that resulted in my talking at length about the benefits of using social media for greater patient/family engagement for quality improvement in complex medical care.
It was great.
I then sat in a café waiting for breakfast and ended up watching a young family of four eat their breakfast together or rather eat their breakfast while the kids watched their own tablets and the parents were on their phones (if we’re really going to be accurate here).
The children were quiet, just how many people wish children would be in public places, but it was a weird quiet.
It was depressing.
I’m in no position to judge how other people live their lives, in public or private, but watching that family just made me think about things, and here I am blogging about it, so it may seem hypocritical.
Maybe it’s the only child in me, maybe it’s age, but I found the whole experience of people watching incredibly lonely. This family had a perfect opportunity to have a completely wonderful breakfast out, something many people would envy, but here they were watching screens.
Meanwhile everyone else in the café was, seemingly, having meaningful interactions with each other, almost as if it was the time before cellphones.
I stayed off my phone and all social media for the rest of the day.
It wasn’t some sort of protest, but it made me think about how I spend my free time, which is usually on some sort of social media platform.
I, like most people, don’t have a lot of free time. So, what I do with my free time seems to matter more than it used to.
I can’t be the only one who feels that way, or am I?
Social media is amazing. Technology is amazing. But it should be used as an enhancement for people’s lives rather than a replacement for the most basic human skills one should be able to use on any given day.
I have friends I wish I could sit and have coffee with, but I have to settle for emails, texts, video chats, etc. I use what I have available to me to connect with people. Yes, I send texts and emails far too much to people I can see face to face. It’s something I know I need to be more intentional about. I can’t complain about how no one interacts with each other anymore if I don’t do something about it myself.
There needs to be a balance. I wish more people would see the need for it.