I checked in with the Educated Grandparent, a site that's on my blogroll. The two women who write it--both grandparents and social workers --recently posted on a topic that is a hot button issue for many of us with grown children (and grandchildren as well): the invasiveness of social media activity, or as they put it "the technological world of internet, Android phones, iPads and instant gratification."
In a post they title Help! Help! Our Children Are Drowning in Technology, their worry is that "we're living in a world of virtual reality. It separates parents from children and us from each other. Talk TO me, not AT me. We definitely do things faster but not better. The internet, with its Facebook and blogs, is supposed to unite us but it really isolates us."
It's especially frustrating for those of us of a generation that expects visitors--our grown children, our grandchildren--to chat with us when they're sitting at our kitchen table.The Gameboy should be stored in the backpack; the cellphone set on mute--unless we want to let them play a game on our cellphone with us. Competitive BrickBreaker, anyone?
And yet, though our sense of social interaction demands eye to eye contact, we need our visitors to keep us up to date on the new tools. We can complain all we want about how unsatisfying a virtual Facebook friend is and how limiting twitter communication is, but personally, I also feel a need to be with it. I have a nephew who's in college. I can email him all I want and never get an answer. I can call him on his cell phone and reach a dead end. But if I text him, a reply comes right back at me. That's the way of their world.
So we can joke, complain and even sit back and marvel at the silliness of some smart phone apps, but they are part of our children's reality. Do we lose communication with them if we cut ourselves off from the technology?
Educated Grandparent ends with a wonderful little anecdote, one that makes you wonder what the point of keeping up is. "A friend of ours just bought a brand new smartphone," they write. "He showed us all its tricks and then said, “Look at this!” He typed in the name of our restaurant ...and sure enough, there it was on the screen of his phone. “Isn't this the greatest thing you've ever seen?” he gloated, “This is right where we are.” The only problem was we already knew where we were."
Yes we do. But the frustrating thing is that where we are is not where the world is going. Do we also need to adapt to move forward in our grown- and grand children's wake?