Is Instant Technology Destroying Manners?
By: Parrish L. Stahl
Has anyone else’s daily routine been altered significantly by the continual presence of ever increasing technology? Countless people delay key parts of their morning activities like, the bathroom, breakfast and even avoid conversations with people they live with in favor of checking to see how many likes and comments their bedtime nugget of knowledge produced. Devices like smart phones, pads, cameras and voice recorders are everywhere. It is so frustrating sometimes when we have an emotional need for a real interaction with another human being and that person, whether it is a loved one or someone providing a service, seems to be totally or partially preoccupied with a piece of information that by all appearances is more important than you are at that moment . If you were lucky enough to be raised by people with manners the way generally reasonable people are acting is troubling.
Remember a time when it was expected that when you meet another person whether for the first time or someone you have known for a period or maybe even your whole life, that a genuine greeting would almost always take place? Those greetings most of us learn as very young children. Eye contact, a smile, a hug, a handshake or maybe asking someone how they are, and giving them your full attention as they answer you are getting more rare every day. Not everyone is comfortable with physical contact and that is really alright but paying attention to another person and giving off real cues that you are listening is a key life skill.
One trait of successful people is that they tend to be greatly in tuned to the people around them. There is a time and a place for technology. The tools technology gives us can help make our lives full and balanced, but only if we work at that balance. The days of having one employer for 40 years, for instance, are gone. It will probably be necessary to have a portfolio of jobs. Few will be hired because of their texting abilities. Employers love to hire individuals with great interpersonal skills. Development and maintenance of those skills takes practice throughout the lifespan. As we live longer lives communicating effectively with care givers is something every family will face.
Social media, technology and instant access have opened a tremendous number of doors for all people including people with mobility challenges. Use those tools responsibly and remember to reach out to people in the real world in a polite way. We do not have to quit cold turkey, but start somewhere. Do you really need the day’s fifteenth selfie? Turn off the phone at mealtime and carry on a conversation. The most powerful tool we have is learning to genuinely care about and interact with each other.