My precious electronic leash

I can still remember the days when I would get out of bed, eat breakfast, take the kids to school, and then head to the office.  I’d open my email first thing and start dealing with whatever I found there.  In fact, I can remember not having an email to check.  It’s been awhile longer, but I still remember it.  I can also remember when I didn’t want to leave the house for fear a friend would call and I’d miss out on some fantastic phone time. All that’s gone now.

Now my mornings look more like this: I get out of bed and stumble to my cell phone to check for any missed texts or emails (on all three accounts – my work, my husband’s business, and my personal email).  I clear out the junk email, respond to any emails that can have a short sweet reply, and then respond to texts as needed.  I wake up the kids.  My 14 year old son wakes up and first thing checks his phone. ( I really noticed it this morning.  Goodness!  He’s copying me.  It’s a terrible habit and one I need to break.  Once I break my habit it will be way easier to break his.)  After breakfast is done being eaten, everyone is dressed we get in the car.  I check emails and texts again at the school while I’m dropping kids off.  Often I get calls on my way to the office so I keep my phone close so I can easily turn on the hands free.

I used to worry about missing calls, but now I wonder if my electronics are more of a leash than a freedom?

The teenage complaint used to be that they would miss something.  Their friends might call with important news of dates, fun, and conversations. In my current life I can be in contact nearly anywhere I go.  I do try to physically move the phone or laptop away when it’s dinner time, on family vacations, or really any other family events.  It’s hard.  I don’t want to say I’m addicted (though I may be mildly addicted).  I’ve been able to avoid the phone for entire family trips.  I think it’s more the concern that I will miss something REALLY important.   But, when I actually stop to think what is so important that I might miss and it would literally devastate me I can’t come up with anything.  Even the death of someone close will still remain if I don’t have my phone for two days.

I read an article recently about the recent trend of teens waiting to get their licenses because they already are fulfilling their social needs with texting, cell phones and Facebook. ( dyn/content/article/2010/01/23/AR2010012301339.html).  That is amazing to me.  Life has changed so much in the past 20 years.

I’m sure our grandparents and parents would say their lives changed pretty drastically too.  I just think that electronics has moved us into a place that many struggle with and a place that is so different than the world has ever been.  We want and enjoy the contact, and we enjoy having the ability to check in at any time. We just need to be sure we’re not losing the little time we have with families because of the electronic leash.

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