RP Roundtable: Knowing When to Unplug
An RP Roundtable debate about the pros and cons of technology in our lives.
Brought to you by Liberty Mutual’s The Responsibility Project
This is a transcript of the film, included for screen readers and the visually impaired.
This is uh, Liberty Mutual Responsibility Project
Irrespective of age, the average person spends eight and a half hours a day on screen time
That canít be good for you
I think I revolve around technology, every waking moment thatís what I reach for
You can easily just lose yourself in this technology and thatís kind of scary
So my daughter, she tells me, oh you're from another generation you don't understand
I probably spend about twelve, thirteen hours a day uh, interacting with technology in some way
I donít know it just seems like much too much time
Well whether its good or bad I mean can you see how it can happen? Whether it's TV, or Ö right?
Oh definitely, noÖ
At the round table today we have a wide representation of individuals who are going to talk about technology and how it shapes our lives Ö What are some of the positives that technology offers us today?
My family canít always go to Hong Kong to visit family, and to be able to video chat and keep in touch with your family across the world is amazing.
The ability to access any kind of information at any time is neat
So what impact do you think technology has had on our day to day relationships?
You know I have a little hardware store on the upper west side Ö and what happens is we get customers around these guys age (Iím an old man here) Ö
Ö so they come in and they are either listening to the ipod, or they're tweeting, whatever that is, and they say well I want three light bulbs, a plunger, and uh, ya know whatever, and they never once look at ya,
they are not interested in your, or anything, they are totally absorbed in what they are doing Ö and it definitely hurts the personal relationships.
I used to take it almost personally, you know what I mean? Now I donít I just realize it is how the younger generation does stuff.
I have a tendency to drift into technology whether Iím readying something important or completely trivial, when people are speaking with me.
I used to hate those people that would looked at the phone when you are speaking to them and I've definitely become one
When I grew up the first thing your folks told you is "look someone in the eye" right? I mean you guys got that right?
[laughter and agreement]
And to sit there, it is the exact opposite thing I mean Ö
I've got my girlfriend screaming at me at least once a day to socialize. I literally am actively ignoring her, whether I even know it or not.
It's just not, I dunno, it's just not right.
You've never been at home sitting with your wife and you're watching TV and she's like honey pay attention to me?
Oh lots of times
Right? So its that same kind of focus I think that you get engrossed but now you carry it with you all the time and it definitely impacts how we deal with other people.
It's isolating, it's definitely isolating.
I remember a few years ago when laptops were really Ö we were moving away from desktops,
and I was upstairs on a laptop and my daughters were downstairs on a laptop and they sent me an email
like "hey what's for dinner" and I yelled down and was like "we aren't doing this in this house, you are going to walk downstairs and talk to me."
With your daughter, what's your experience been?
I could be in the next room in my bedroom and she'll send me a silly message about something she's looking for
and the room is only a few doors down rather than coming over and talking with me, so itís a lack of uh, communication.
So when she does that what is your response?
I become frustrated because she doesnít stop, I have like 20 messages from her and its like oh my gosh.
And then sometimes I get to the point I will ignore her text messages and then eventually she will come and talk to me.
So what do we do about it? What rules do we need for ourselves so we can engage each other in am meaningful interaction on a regular basis?
Set a goal for yourself and say well on, maybe a few times a week I am going to make sure I set aside maybe an hour, two hours of family time,
or I am going to turn off that cell phone for example when you are with your girlfriend,
maybe um leave that phone in the other room even if its just for an hour, you know, just to have a little bit of personal time.
I would say just slow down. And donít think that technology can answer all your problems, that human contact, emotion, all that kind of stuff has to figure into it.
And if we lose that, then there's no feeling then itís a scary universe.
We can make attempts to kind of shut things off so we can connect face to face.
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