Okay, maybe the title is a tad bit dramatic. I’m not totally adverse to technology. I admit, it can be a wonderful thing…the advances we’ve seen in just my lifetime are mind boggling. Who would have thought twenty years ago that would have a way to talk to people via social media on the other side of the earth…people we have never even met but call “friends”? Who would have ever thought I could have been sitting at my daughter’s basketball game writing a blog post on a tablet instead of watching while she stops to tie her shoe for the hundredth time during the game? Who could have imagined that you could send your husband to the store for bread and milk and send him a text while he was there to pick up chocolate and tampons? And seriously, when you were stretching the telephone cord from your parents’ kitchen all the way to the hallway so you could have a little peace and quiet while you giggled with your friends about the cutest boy in school, did you ever once imagine your own children would be talking face to face to their own friends on their cell phones or tablets…no phone cord needed?
I’m sure that you could argue that the benefits of technology are overwhelming. Texting is an awesome concept for quick messages when you don’t have time to talk to people. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with relatives halfway across the country. Google is well…when was the last time YOU picked up a twenty pound encyclopedia or walked around with a song in your head and couldn’t remember who sang it? And then…there’s FaceTime. Yes, technology can be wonderful, but it can also be the bane of our very existences. FaceTime’s an insane concept for me to wrap my brain around. Ten-year-old me thinks that the idea that I could not only talk to, but SEE my friend miles and miles away while I did my homework, ate dinner and walked the dog, is inconceivable! Hell, I was excited when three-way calling and call waiting were invented. It was great being able to listen to not one, but two of your friends breathe while you watched TV, only putting down the phone to run to the bathroom during commercials. Now our kids can WATCH each other watch TV, pausing anytime they want. And…it’s getting on my nerves. FaceTime might as well be named “We Have No Privacy Time”. Because that’s exactly what it is and I don’t even use the damn thing.
I just never know when FaceTime is running in my house. I could be screaming at my kids to pick up their socks off the couch in all sorts of colorful language and I glance over at the coffee table and my daughter’s friend is staring back at me, blinking with shock, her jaw on the floor, saying, “My mommy never uses words like that”. I’ve come out of the shower in a towel to find my daughter sitting in front of the bathroom door on FaceTime with my nephew…no warning…just his grinning face shoved in my face as he asks if my daughter can come play Legos. And my sister says she’s had my daughter’s face shoved under her nose while she’s half asleep asking if she can come play Legos. My husband has to have pants on at all times, and I can’t walk around braless anymore in my own house. Nor can I dance around the living room using the lamp as a makeshift stripper pole while “Pour Some Sugar on Me” blasts from my iPod anymore. I gotta tell ya…that really puts a damper in my Saturday morning cleaning routine.
The kids are constantly “with” each other…it’s like they don’t know how to be alone. And therefore, I never get to be alone. You hear voices all the time…you don’t know if they’re your kids or kids that are in your house that shouldn’t be or you need meds or they’re just on FaceTime. And kids are ALWAYS in your house via FaceTime. Not only do I have to listen to my daughter practice the trumpet (a noise that sends neighborhood cats ducking for cover), I have to listen to her best friend practice the recorder *cringe*. And that kid’s poor mother is treated to my daughter’s *ahem* singing. And incidentally, my singing, too because Face Time is always there…like a hidden camera show. Because heaven forbid they pick up a book or talk on the phone (do kids even do that anymore????) or go outside and play. What fun is that when you can watch your friend in their pajamas across town plant fake vegetables in their online game while their mom screams at them to clean their room in Spanish? Now THAT’S entertainment.