When was the last time you went to a concert? Did you notice how many people were watching it through their screens? Or were you one of them?
In a recent article from Washington D.C. radio station WTOP, artists open up about smart phones at concerts… and as it turns out, many are getting frustrated by playing to unenthused crowds. People too busy watching through their screens to really pay attention to what’s happening on stage.
At the famous Newport Blues Festival this summer, the singer for The Lumineers actually called the audience out on it, saying…
“What do you say we put away those cellphones and cameras and just be here, right now?”
The crowd cheered, but this is a band that has a huge following. Of hipsters. They get it, so most of them put their phones away… until the next act came on.
The idea of holding up a camera throughout a performance has always baffled me… why waste time filming something I can probably watch on youtube later, shot by someone with a better seat, and far better camera skills?
But then a few weeks ago I saw Metallica, in China, for the first time ever, in the third row, and come on… it’s not like I’m not going to Whatsapp videos to my friends back home, and the friends that couldn’t make it, and that one friend I have who really likes that one song of theirs and… oh my goodness, they’re playing it… where is my phone?
The ability to do that – to share with others something I know that they would enjoy, to let them know I’m thinking of them – is exciting.
But in my desperate need to share, was I enhancing my experience, or did I miss out on my chance to be fully in that moment?
It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves… and the kids, whether it’s framed as a debate in a classroom, or even better, a discussion at the dinner table.
Is our need to connect through our devices preventing us from enjoying our experiences as they happen? And not just at concerts either, but during celebrations, graduations, time with friends, intimate moments with our loved ones…
I’d recommend watching this clip with the kids as a conversation starter, and then reading them a few quotes from the article.
When did we get to this point and what can we do about it? How do we as a community (or family) get back to the present moment… using our technology to add richness and layers to real life experiences, instead of just pulling us away from them?
Ask them about times when they’ve felt disconnected from people in their lives because of what was happening on their screens.
What’s so interesting is that this crisis of disconnection is actually being caused by something that keeps us connected in ways we never thought possible…
So where’s the tipping point?
Decide as a family where yours is… and come up with some solutions for balance.
Give yourselves a challenge. Live life in the moment.
For more on how technology affects our relationships and experiences, check out this brand new book:
You can downloaded it straight to your Kindle or iPad, but first… go outside and play. All of you.