Cellphones have changed us!

June 7, 2020

As seniors, we know life before computers, email, cellphones and social media. In the last few months, communication has altered our lives in ways we never thought possible.

My phone tells me that my screen time is up 15 percent from last week. Is this a good thing? Perhaps we have become more dependent on our phones than one another. 

I pocket my phone on a dog walk. Yesterday, I brought it to the yoga mat because I was expecting a call. Instead of television, I use my phone to check social media platforms, to read the news articles, to learn about the virus, the stock market, and the scathing truth that racism is rampant among us. 

Some days I think my life was better even before television and the telephone were invented. 

But then I see the benefits of this new age. Yesterday after my Zoom yoga class, I read a bedtime story to one granddaughter via Skype. Later, I played virtual Barbie on FaceTime with another. 

Then I watch the riots throughout the nation and recall how vivid the devastation was in downtown Washington, D.C., when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. We didn’t visit my grandmother that Sunday because it wasn’t safe. How can so many cities be unsafe?

The cellphone has changed our lives. It has become a tape recorder of the truth. The world has witnessed the murder of George Floyd. An incident we have seen repeated so many times that the platforms of social media couldn’t contain the outrage. Of course, people took to the streets. 

I am reminded of the killings at Kent State when students were protesting the Vietnam War, and I took to the streets, too. Now we watch as tempers flare between law enforcement and citizens who exercise their right to free speech, and we see more death and destruction.

The media doesn’t have to dictate an individual’s actions. The cellphone can be a mirror for our mistakes. We can do better as private citizens and as a nation, if we listen more than we rant. Not just hope the injustice will run out of battery power.

Can I turn off my phone for awhile? I want to stay informed, but my screen time shouldn’t be longer than my face time. Real face time, with or without a mask.

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