Little Monsters · 12 August 2012
Sometimes I regret having the little monsters. They scream at you when they are hungry. They insistently nag you at the most inopportune times. Worst of all, they can take up all your time and energy if you let them. Kids can be like that too, but I do not regret having them. The little monsters I regret having around are the cell phones and other electronics we seem to find so necessary to modern life.
Personally, I am not very well connected. I rarely have my cell phone on, and even if I did, it does not get any of that social media stuff or even have a camera on it. In reality, it barely gets texts. Mine is just a phone. Still, like every piece of personal electronics, I need to feed it every once in a while. When the little bar shows it has no power, I plug it in. Thankfully, it does not yell at me like the other phones in our house. They are insistent when they get low on power. The beep beeps seem to say, “Feed me. Feed me.” And the interval between these naggings is timed exactly so that I am annoyed enough to get up and plug the little monsters into an outlet.
While I keep my own hungry little monster in its cage most of the time, I find it interesting and sometimes entertaining to watch how others interact with their little monsters.
Some people (the cyborgs) always have theirs plugged into their ears. Whether by a cord or some blue tooth device, these people are always tethered to their phones. They are constantly talking to their peeps, listening for updates from their social media, or listening to music or audio entertainment.
Other people are constantly looking at their phones. They are texting their friends, playing games, or watching entertainment. (I have even seen people walking side-by-side apparently texting each other.) All of the connected people seem to stay connected all the time. But they miss the scenery passing by when they play games in the car in the back seat. They miss the people near them when they text or talk to people far away. Sometimes they miss life right in front of them as they stay connected to their own little digital worlds. To their own little monsters.
I know that many people believe they cannot function without their cell phones and other personal electronics. They believe every call is important and must be taken immediately. Every Tweet must be seen when it is Tweeted. Every Facebook post must have a like or response right away. While this attitude seems to show that people are important, it often leads to distraction at the worst times. Then again, some people believe that they need to be connected to their electronics all the time because they need to be connected with others through their electronics all the time. (Like those people walking and texting side-by-side.) These people have given in to their little monsters.
I actually do like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that connect people. It is great to see what people are doing and we can connect with old friends we do not often get to see face-to-face. Unfortunately, like most good things, we can become addicted to our social media. We cannot wait to see the latest Facebook posts by our best friends or the newest Tweet by some celebrity. So we abuse our electronics. We are distracted by listening for that telltale sign from our phones which tells us something new is happening in somebody’s life. Unfortunately, those little monsters that keep us connected can take up all our precious time.
When it comes down to it, we all decide what we do with our little monsters. We can feed them and bow to their every insistent cry or we can control them and use them to do our bidding. We really can control our little monsters because at the very least, we can turn them off. After all, at least up to this point in time (and unlike my kids), they cannot just turn themselves back on. Hopefully, we can all figure out that our electronics do not need to be unruly little monsters. Little monsters that we regret having.
© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi
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