By Moorea Long | Contributor
As I sat in church last Sunday, I watched a mother text someone and then scroll through her Facebook feed during the sermon. Her young daughter looked up at her, and the mother kept scrolling. I realized that this little girl was learning at a young age that whatever is happening on her phone takes precedence over being involved in the world around her.
Although most of the sermon would have been tough for a small child to grasp, I would argue that children may never learn respect if their parents do not set a good example. I believe that we, as a society, are on a very slippery slope as there no longer seems to be a circle of respect handed down from generation to generation. Instead, respect is flat-lining, and if we are not careful, we are soon to follow.
According to a recent Nielsen audience report shared by CNN, the average adult spends more than 10 hours each day consuming media on smartphones, TVs and computers. The more time we spend on devices and chatting with Alexa and Siri, the less time we spend connecting with real people. Younger generations are extremely attached to their devices and are replacing face-to-face conversations with Snapchat and texts where the same social graces and respect that our society was founded upon do not apply.
We get a glimpse of what media overload from our device dependence can do to a society each election cycle. At times, people seem barbaric as they fight to proclaim why their opinions are right and why everyone else is therefore wrong. Sadly, people feel empowered to be even more disrespectful when they can hide behind a keyboard.
As each generation becomes more immersed in technology and tethered to devices at an even younger age, I think the need to unplug has never been greater. It’s time we get back to really living in the moment, making those around us feel like they matter and showing genuine concern for one another. We, as a society, need to make a conscious decision to build connections that do not depend on wifi, but people. Poet Maya Angelou said it best when she wrote, “If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” Let’s put our phones down and start connecting with each other again. It’s critical to our survival.
Moorea is a freshman public relations major from Paola, Kan.