Technology and the Destruction of the Family

Screens; all we do anymore is look at screens. We look at our handy little computer phones we carry with us at all times, larger tablets, larger computer screens, and television screens after that. When does it stop? While technology has its good points, it is destroying us slowly.

Every piece of technology has had at its core a basic desire to benefit mankind. Television and film was made to entertain and show us people and places we could only wish to witness firsthand. Sadly, this entertainment medium has been abused and consistently shows us the worst aspects of humanity and brings the seven deadly sins right to the eyes of our children before they can even process what they are seeing. The Internet was supposed to bring a world’s worth of information and connection to our fingertips. This immense double-edged sword has also brought forth misinformation, filth, and solitude to every user. Long gone are the hand written sentiments and patience to mail and receive a letter in the mail. Texting has made us impatient and unable to understand how someone could not answer us immediately.

Which brings us to social media. The tool that was supposed to connect us, bring us together and help us share, has divided us, disabled us to the point of not being able to interact in person, and brought out our worst vanities and jealousies.

The worst example of this I witnessed the other day. I saw a family of four at a restaurant where the children were on their phones, the dad was on an iPad and the mother was sadly looking out the window in silence. Even eating together has been robbed of interaction and family. The family is the core and central point where children are taught how to interact in the world. Now families are torn apart by silence and non-interaction, even at meal times, first by television, then by messaging, now by social media. We have handicapped ourselves to the point of giving up. We are deluded to the point that we think this is the way the world is. Having 500 “friends” or “followers” is more important than having the love and attention of one person right in front of you. We are slowly loosing our humanity.

Parents are shoving screens in front of their children when they venture out to keep them quiet instead of teaching them manners, or heaven forbid, taking the precious moments to interact with them while they still have them. Couples are more intent on “checking in”, posting pictures, taking selfies, and changing statuses than getting to know this person they are on a date with. We are letting technology lead us by the nose to destruction. Folks can’t talk anymore. A traditional “date” is non-existent. We even look for potential mates by swiping through pictures like a catalog search. What would Christ say if He was handed an iPhone? Would he see His children breaking new ground and discovering ways to connect and be together? Or would He see a small black box that could be the Deceiver’s greatest new tool?

What does the Catechism teach us?

The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society. (CCC, #2207)

We are better than this. We need to BE PRESENT. We need to unplug, and be with those around us, or even be in the beautiful creation that God made. Sure, there is a time and a place for technology. The good parts to this tech is there, but we have to give it its due place in life. Once I finish this post, I’m going to put the tech away, pray to God for help, and be present in the world. What will matter to me more in my last moments, my social media trolling, or those that I love knowing that I loved them so much and they mattered so much that I couldn’t let a single moment pass by when they were with me without my undivided attention?

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