Human connectivity has given birth to the wealthiest companies in the world and yet there continues to be people who feel completely alone, who have little to no social interaction and turn to alternate formats for their social 'fix'. The birth of Facebook has provided one of the most invasive social experiences, and the idea of online social connectivity has only just begun to be explored:
"We carry our phones wherever we go... no matter what your doing your friends are always right there with you"
Now we can be with people wherever we go! Our phones are a gateway to Facebook, which is a gateway to the lives of others!
Recently, I came across the concept of Machsom L'Fi. A novel idea that encourages extra diligence during specific times throughout the day on the prohibition of speaking Lashon Harah (derogatory speech). While acknowledging there is a prohibition all the time, Machsom L'Fi recognizes that humans are fallible, especially regarding the challenge of appropriate communication, and suggests that we begin our journey to appropriate speech with close attention paid to avoiding Lashon Harah during two hours a day.
With the intrusion of digital social life into our every moment, it has become difficult to steal time for actual physical interaction. Is it becoming easier for us to socialize through a screen rather than face to face? Are we maintaining relationships through media rather then developing relationships through physical meetings?
While online social networks remain a useful tool, there has to be concern that they will become a crutch, offering social interaction and connectivity in the least connected manner.
And what is this modeling for our kids?
In a recent article in The Atlantic magazine, James Fallow interviews tech-industry veteran Linda Stone on 'The Art of Paying Attention'. When addressing the distracting nature of smart phones, Stone suggests that "We may think that kids have a natural fascination with phones. Really, children have a fascination with whatever Mom and Dad find fascinating. If they are fascinated by the flowers coming up in the yard, that’s what the children are going to find fascinating. And if Mom and Dad can’t put down the device with the screen, the child is going to think, That’s where it’s all at, that’s where I need to be!"
While I don't believe the screen is attractive to our children purely because of our enthusiasm for gadgets, it does seem accurate to suggest that our eagerness for alternate activities will be reflected in our children's behaviors. In losing the battle for direct human interaction, you are now capable of having your 1500+ best friends in your pocket. But when is the last time you spoke to one of them? The extreme profits to be made in offering a social netweek is both shocking and should make us suspect of the novelties of such a social structure.
It is because of this I would like to suggest a 'Machsom L'Phone'. Whether it be a concern of modeling alternate enthusiasms for your children or simply a recognition that direct human interaction remains sacred and far more productive than digital social interaction, for one hour a day commit to not checking any screens that may be around you.
Phone calls can be returned - Twitter will continue to exist after this sacred hour - Facebook has created an incredibly intrusive way for you to stay on top of your friends activities even if you miss your news feed for an hour. What is this sacred hour about?
The human interaction.
Machsom L'Phone - Try it
If you don't try Machsom L'Phone you may never have the opportunity to play guitar with your son - you'll have to settle for Guitar Hero!