Are smart phones changing our dialog?

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UTKellyRev2ColumnTechnology is great, but does anyone talk face to face anymore?

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Oh my gosh, have you seen this video clip?

It is AMAZING!  I love Louis C.K.  He can articulate things in such a way that you are laughing and nodding your head at the same time.

BRILLIANT.

I agree that holding on to that tiny, square box that instantly connects you to the rest of the universe means you are never truly “alone.” While this may seem comforting at times (how sad that now I can sit for coffee at Starbucks by myself without feeling weird because I have my phone to keep me company) the bottom line is, being inundated with outside influences quiets our INNER voice.

It is completely understandable how social media sites like Facebook (for old people) and Instagram can decimate self-esteem.  What if you post a picture or update your status and nobody “likes” it?  Devastating.  Or, even worse, people leave nasty comments about the way you look or what you have to say.  Horrible.

I love how Louis describes how children (by nature) are mean.  They “try out” hurtful things.  Texting something that you would NEVER say to a person’s face is much easier.  Hiding behind a computer or cell phone emboldens and empowers and, unfortunately, not always for good.  Kids rarely have face-to-face conversations.  My husband loves to tell the story about picking up our son and a friend from a school dance.  Not a word spoken on the way home.  Heads bent and thumbs flying, they were “talking” to EACH OTHER on a group chat.

If children as young as elementary school age have smart phones, how can we fix this problem?  It is my personal opinion that kids in the lower grades and middle school do not have the maturity to handle unfettered access to the internet.  Third graders do not need Snap Chat.  I question whether high schoolers can handle it, but technology is not going away any time soon.  The better solution may be to restrict the amount of time we all spend with a phone in hand.

I know that I am guilty of carrying my phone everywhere.  And, while I do NOT text and drive, I do look at my phone at (almost) every red light.  WHY?  It’s a terrible habit and I need to break it.

So, for today, let’s try to talk to each other, maintain eye contact and engage in some POSITIVE dialogue!

What ideas/solutions do YOU have?  Please comment below.

Happy Weekend!

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