Some of my fondest childhood memories involve being outdoors. The children in my neighborhood would gather outside in the afternoon organizing games to play well into the evening until the inevitable flicker of the streetlights would signal us back to our homes.
I was also heavily involved in horseback riding growing up. Starting from the age of seven, I spent the majority of my free time riding and grooming horses. I would spend hours at the barn during the weekends and go home wind burnt, dusty and happy. I spent my entire life immersed in this outdoor hobby and even after I graduated form high school I still spent a great deal of time horseback riding. As a result, I never placed a great deal of value on technological hobbies.
I have never been good with computers, video games, or anything technological for that manner. I feel like while I was growing up I placed such a high value on spending time with my horse and being outdoors that I never bothered to get into technology at all because I found it unnecessary, I already had my own entertainment.
I now look at children and wonder how different their lives will be. I see babies playing on iPads and toddlers toting around their parent’s cell phones already pretending to have adult conversations on adult devices. Instead of picking up a real book children are learning how to read on devices like the Kindle. Teenagers and adults alike are in their own technological worlds always madly moving fingers and thumbs across keypads of electronic devices completely oblivious to the world around them. When did society begin to favor letters on a screen over face-to-face conversations? When did children who can barely walk learn to operate a device so complex as an iPad? What will happen to this new generation of children? Will they feel the joy of an outdoor game of hide and seek? Will they ever feel the accomplishment of turning the last page of a novel and closing the cover?
I think it is time for society to take a step back from their electronic devices and see just how good it feels to have a real conversation with a friend instead of a hastily typed message sent in seconds. I understand that the major advances in technology are necessary in today’s world. And believe me, I enjoy my laptop with Wi-Fi and my iPhone with all of its capabilities just as much as the next person. I, however, do not prefer to spend my time glued to these devices. I just think it seems like a cold lonely world when there is such a dependence on technology and the value of “old fashioned” entertainment has diminished so.
Take the time to read a real book, meet a friend for coffee and actually talk, and encourage children to play outside. I do not want to grow old in a world where technology is more important that what is right outside your front door. Use technology as it is meant for, an aid to make life easier, but please don’t forget to actually live your life too.