When that mass murder of innocent lives occurred at an elementary school in Connecticut it shocked a nation.  In short order, many began to search for a motive.  In that case one can’t rationalize insanity.

Several wanted to blame guns for the act; others wanted to blame society as a whole.  A collective group can never stop every individual who’s truly hell-bent on destruction.

A few lawmakers blamed Hollywood for the violent films they produce, and others blamed sinister video games for clouding the minds of youth.

I’m not writing to pronounce judgment, but yet to stir thought from within.

The 1960s television series Star Trek featured flip-top communicators, a precursor to cell phones.  Today, flip-top phones are considered dinosaurs.  I must admit, my wife and I still own one.

Two current television commercials have caught my eye.  One is for Consumer Cellular and features a plane full of older adults waiting on the tarmac for the plane to take off.  Among them is a young man, in his 20s, playing a videogame on a smart phone.  He’s impervious to everything going on around him because he has plugs in his ears.  At the end of the commercial he’s still enthralled with what he’s doing and runs into the plane’s door while exiting.

The other commercial is for Droid in which a smart phone is surgically implanted in a human’s chest.  In turn, data is injected into his bloodstream through a syringe.  The commercial says something like: “The Droid is you.”

Technology is intriguing indeed, but at what price?  Some may say:  Oh … it’s just entertainment, but what if technology evolves there?

The song “In The Year 2525” was written in 1969, yet it has some reflective lyrics:

“In the year 2525, if man is still alive.

In 3535, ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie.  Everything you think, do and say is in the pill you took today.

In 4545, you ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes.  You won’t find a thing to chew nobody’s gonna look at you.

In 5555, your arms are hangin’ limp at your sides.  Your legs got nothin’ to do, some machine’s doin’ that for you.

In 6565, you won’t need no husband, won’t need no wife.  You’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too, from the bottom of a long glass tube.”

Apple broke a record recently for the highest selling stock share ever.  They manufacture smart phones, the iPod, and a host of technological gadgets.  There’s nothing wrong with technology.  It’s purposeful and has its place in society, but if you own one of those technological wonders you must ask yourself do you own it, or does it, own you?

What measures must we take to inhibit technology from dominating our lives?

My point is technology can never replace the interaction of man or family.

The other day I saw some parents and their kids tobogganing down a snow-covered slope – they were having a blast.

For a time, when our kids were teenagers, they would take their plate of food at dinnertime to their room and watch TV or play video games.  I saw a flaw in that and dictated the family was to all eat at the dinner table when it was ready.  At first no one had much to say, but that soon changed – I must admit, it’s the best thing I ever did.

Not long ago my wife and I had dinner at a fancy restaurant.  A couple sat down at a table beside us with their teenage children, a girl and two boys.  The girl was listening to an MP3 player and never removed the plugs in her ears all night.  The Mom and Dad tried to strike up conversation at first, but the girl ignored them throughout.  Soon after they ordered the boys broke out their smart phones; one began texting and the other was absorbed in a videogame.  The parents tried to strike up conversation with their children, but by that time all family interaction had completely broken down.  With that, the mother broke out her cell phone and called a friend.  The father then began to shake his head and was left in a daze.

It was a simple case in point that technology can own us, if we let it.

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org.    

© Greg Allen ~ All Rights Reserved