Living in the Electronic Age

I have a love and hate relationship … with electronics. I admit I have and often still do rely on them as a form of “parenting” (ie. entertaining the kids so I can cook), and I wonder how in the world parents ever got anything done before tablets, smartphones and apps were born.

The reason I dislike electronic gadgets though is because of how they have affected the world. We cannot go anywhere these days without seeing people’s eyes and fingertips glued to their palm-sized devices, whether they’re at a restaurant eating (sometimes with a table full of people all doing the same thing!), in line at the grocery store, at the library or playground, or even walking along the street. I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of doing these things, too.

I often wonder what my munchkins think of the society they’re growing up in. They have never known a time where people didn’t carry around portable electronics or have easy access to the online world. Once when hubby and I tried to educate them about the world we grew up in, we had the following conversation.

Me: When I was a kid, we didn’t have phones you could carry with you or iPads to play with. We didn’t even have computers or the internet. We read books and played with toys and board games.

Hubby: I played outside with my friends every day.

E (with a thoughtful look on his face): But did you have electricity?

Hahaha! Of course our son would believe we’re from the Dark Ages!

Image courtesy of moggara12/

Image courtesy of moggara12/

But would being from the pre-electronic age be all that bad? Imagine a time when preoccupied drivers were only defined as those who put on their makeup or chowed down a sausage egg McMuffin during the morning commute, not those who watched the latest trending YouTube video at a red light. Or a time when people actually made eye contact and talked to each other, not to Siri. Sounds like a much safer and personally engaging world, doesn’t it? 🙂

So, I am writing this post as a reminder to myself that we can live without electronic devices. That the first and last thing I do every day does not have to be checking my email or Facebook. That even though living in the electronic age can offer some convenience and sanity to me as a parent, I should not overuse it.

Because for those of us who are from the “Dark Ages”, we know it’s totally possible to survive and thrive doing things the old-fashioned way. It’s fun to talk to a friend (over the phone or in person) instead of sending a text. There is a whole world outside to explore with sunlight and fresh air and actual birds, not 140 characters, that go tweet. And kids can entertain themselves by making up stories, turning cardboard boxes into toys or playing a game of Go Fish.

On this last week of summer vacation, I’m going to try to unglue myself and the kiddos from the screen as much as possible. And we’re going to go enjoy the great outdoors and one another’s company, even if it drives us crazy (haha).

Here’s a very appropriate video featuring Bert (of Sesame Street fame) and Zachary Levi singing, “A Lovely Sunny Day“. I love how they use all sorts of electronic puns to make the song fun.

What memories do you have from living in the “Dark Ages”? Or if you were born during the electronic age, what would you do if you had to live in a world without the internet?

P.S. This post is a couple of days late because I chose to do other things while we were away on a short family trip this past weekend (ie. spend time taking a walk with hubby and talking with my parents). It was a conscious decision I had to make (and fight for mentally!) and I’m glad I made it. 🙂

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