As summer reaches a peak, it’s the perfect time of year to step back from our plugged-in lives and focus on face time, whether with loved ones or the strangers we encounter during our daily lives.
The epidemic of electronic technology replacing our face-to-face interactions hit home at SPB Global when our friend Aviva, a writer for Nature’s Nurse, told us about a recent experience.
At seven months pregnant, Aviva was traveling in an airport. There were no seats available for her, and as she looked around she realized that everyone seated was plugged into the charging stations next to their seats. Not one person made eye contact with her or offered her a seat as they continued charging and working on their electronic devices while she stood.
We’re all guilty. According to a cross platform report conducted earlier this year by Neilson, a consumer research company, the average American adult spends 11 hours a day with digital media. It is a constant challenge to find the balance between staying plugged into the modern world and being present with the people surrounding us in the moment. With our personal electronic devices we can be contacted by anyone, at any time, in an overwhelming variety of ways.
This availability is great- it keeps us connected to far away loved ones, it keeps our businesses and careers easy and at our fingertips, it’s entertaining and informative.
But, while we post pictures of our kids at the beach on social media, are we also making sure to enjoy being present during the vacation and experience the time with our children fully? At lunch with a friend, are we taking the time to catch up with no distractions, giving our personal relationships our full attention, or are we updating and checking texts as we eat?
Susan Bernard, founder SPB Global, understands this struggle better than anyone. As the owner of a business centered in electronics, Susan’s tech savvy is crucial to the success of SPB Global. But even this electronic entrepreneur says that for her and her family, taking an occasional break from the world of technology is a priority: “in the summertime, we head to our cottage in Michigan and get back to the basics. Fishing off the docks, catching frogs, having cookouts, enjoying bonfires, and most importantly no TV or electronics. It’s always easier to do in the summer because we can escape to nature.”
The key is awareness. If we are aware of how we use electronics in our daily lives, we give ourselves the ability to control our usage rather than letting devices control us. Permitting our electronic devices to take over our lives is a choice. As we enjoy family time and the sunshine this summer, let’s recognize the way electronics impact our interactions with friends, family and those we come in contact with.
SPB Global tech writer