The holidays arrived once again and families prepare to gather and catch up and bond with each other. However, the living room is almost completely silent as a few adults chat in the kitchen and the youngest members of the family sit silent on the couches, hypnotized by their devices.
Now, the dinner table is no longer a site of family unity; most of the time one or more members of the family are immersed in their phones and tuning out the rest of the family. The evolution of technology has brought along the rise of social media, connecting users to the outside world while disconnecting them from their loved ones.
During the holidays, many spend a lot of time taking pictures and posting it on social media. This is good to an extent— families share and save memories but it is not often that someone’s phone isn’t in their hand long after the memories have been captured.
Times of coming together, like the holidays are meant to be, are turning into photoshoots and avoiding family. Many are guilty of using their phones to ignore family at one point or another but it raises the question of what will happen to holidays in the future. It seems harmless at times but instead of living through the memories, it seems more important to cut the memories short to capture them.
Children, less than two years old, are also on tablets and phones. In the past, children would be running around, playing with their toys; now, there are only a few kids who enjoy the outside as generations did before. Most children are growing up attached to the ever changing technology.
“Children’s absorption in technology, from texting to playing video games, does by their very nature limit their availability to communicate with their parents,” said Dr. Jim Taylor, a psychology specialist. “One study found that when the working parent arrived home after work, his or her children were so immersed in technology that the parent was greeted only 30 percent of the time and was totally ignored 50 percent of the time.”
It is not only children but adults who contribute to the rift technology has caused. While social media is beneficial for communicating with the family members and loved ones that couldn’t be present, it usually separates those who are present.
The holidays, the happiest times of the year, seem to have turned into a reunion of screens and keyboard clicks. Social media has its benefits year-round, but during the holidays it seems to continue to create a divide between families.