The Value of Real Face-Time February 20 2013

I have a horrible habit. I'm addicted to social media and technology of all kinds. The first thing I do when I get home, even before I've taken my shoes off, is open my laptop. Sometimes, an hour goes by and I realize I still have my coat on. Then I sit down to dinner and 
my first urge is to upload a picture of the beautiful dinner my fiance prepared to Instagram. When did taking pictures of food become such a "thing" anyway? I knowingly have a hard time leaving my office at the office and I'm suddenly noticing that I'm doing all the things I'm most annoyed by.

-I'm constantly looking down at my phone.


-I check my Facebook page roughly every ten minutes, even though I know there will be nothing new and important.


-I allow any social media alerts to disrupt my home-life.


And it really just gets worse from there. 


I once stopped making plans with a friend of mine because he couldn't get through a meal without checking his email, and now, it looks like I've become a culprit of the same kind, which is why I am resolving to use less technology from this point forward. Don't get me wrong, technology is great! Technology creates a connection between families who can't always be together, but there's a time and place for checking email and I believe that a phone call beats an email any day.  By letting my tech addiction interfere with my relationships, I'm missing out on one-on-one connections.  Face-time becomes so much more important in such a technologically-driven social culture, and not the "face-time" iPhone app, REAL face-to-face time.


I've been hearing and reading so many stories about how parents should limit screen time for their kids, but really, adults need those limitations too. Perhaps families should all create their own set of tech guidelines. My most cherished memories with friends and family don't involve technology of any sort. They involve in-person contact, and that's exactly what makes those moments so memorable. 


Outlets like Facebook are great for sharing photos and updates, but those outlets also create false relationships and cause us to forget the true value of meaningful interactions. Time is a valuable love-language and if you can spend time with someone you appreciate, you should. 


I don't need to update my Facebook status daily. I shouldn't film a concert through a 5 inch screen on my phone. I don't need to know what everyone else is doing if I'm busy creating my own moments. The internet is such a powerful tool, but, in no way can it substitute for how we feel around our favorite people. 


I resolve to call my parents more – just because they're on Facebook, doesn't mean they don't want to hear my voice. I resolve to leave my phone at home when I go out to dinner – phones have no place at the dinner table anyway. I resolve to turn off my computer when I get home, after I take off my shoes and coat – my eight hour work day is more social media than one should be exposed to on a daily basis.


Think about how you can decrease your screen time as a family and be thankful for the time you can spend together without the distractions of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, etc. It is amazing what we can do with mobile phones, iPads and laptops, but if we limit our interactions to just that, we're not being fair to ourselves or those who value our company and whose company we enjoy in return. Go for a hike, see a movie, enjoy a meal and you'll notice that you don't miss your phone that much after all. As trite as it may sound, we document memories in our hearts and minds, not on a mobile device.