Put down the phone

I recently attended a Cleveland Indians game, my first major league baseball game.

My expectations for the game were loosely based on movies I’d seen which took place in the 50s.

Baseball in the 50s was something like this: everyone in the stands had their eyes glued to the field and little kids would  lose their minds as they watched their idols in real life.

As I write this, I feel nostalgic for a time I was not even alive for. I realize the 50s have been romanticized, a little by my generation, but mostly by my parents generation.

I realize the 50s were full of issues.

I realized as my family and I adjusted ourselves in the stands, the atmosphere at a baseball game in 2016 was in left field compared to what I expected.

Did you see what I did there? I said left field because, you know, I am writing about baseball—hilarious.

Directly to the right of me, two people were Snapchatting; their attention drawn from the field toward the filters that altered their faces.

However, what inspired me to write this story was not the puppies on my right, but the father who was sitting with his twin sons directly in front of me.

I watched the father as he led his sons to their seats, apparently by using the force because neither son looked up from their mobile devices once.

It was clear from the father’s face he was excited he had brought his sons to the game hoping that they would enjoy it like he once did as a boy.

I got lost in a daydream imagining how this father probably never had the opportunity to go to a real game as a kid. I imaged him as a little kid with wire glasses who had his baseball cards memorized and alphabetized in pristine condition.

I imaged that he thought he would give his sons the dream he never got to live.

He forgot, however, that his sons had grown up in 2016.

I don’t think I saw either twin look up but once.

Both boys had their own phones and were playing game after game. I watched as their father’s face turned from excitement to disappointment.

I think each boy asked fifteen times each how long it was until they could leave.

I realize it is a little hypocritical of me to be writing about how these boys weren’t paying attention to the game when I myself was busy observing the family in front of me instead of watching the game.

My purpose in writing this is not to put a negative light on the use of technology or the ones that use it.

Technology is an important tool that enabled us to accomplish far greater feats than anyone could have imagined.

My hang up is simply that in an effort to connect us to many people from all over the world, it ironically seems to disconnect us from the people right next to us.

I realize you have probably heard this whole spiel before, and most of it probably came from your parents.

However, there is something to be said about their perspective.

Your parents came from a very different world than you. They have seen the drastic change that technology has had on every single aspect of life.

That is not an exaggeration—I hope you realize that.

According to George Houston’s article on Counsel and Heal: Mental Health, Social media usage has wired our brains in such a way that enables them to quickly switch from one thing to the next. 

However, for other aspects of life, not pertaining to technology, this adaptation makes it more difficult to focus on one task and ultimately makes us less efficient.

Your parents are more aware of technology and its effects, while you, on the other hand, have grown up with it as a second nature.

Instead of blowing off your parents as clueless, take heed to what they say.

Technology is wonderful and crucial to our lives, However, it should never jeopardize the qualities of life that make this world a pretty great place.