Friday, June 18, 2010

Virtual Beings or Relational Beings

We are relational beings.  There's really no way around it.  God created humans to be with each other.  Seeking each other out is what we do.  Even if you are an introvert, some part of you craves at least occasional connection with others.

I spent today watching my children make connections.  They played, talked, shared activities and food.  It was the most natural thing in the world for my children and their friends to be together face to face.  This evening I was able to spend face to face time with friends of my own.  What a blessing to gather together and share ourselves.  And even as I know that face time is best I often settle for virtual reality.  It's quick and non-demanding.  I don't have to go anywhere or do much more than sit down and log on.  Virtual reality allows me to pretend that I'm having interactions with others even though the others aren't really there.

For ten years, the people who knew the day to day me were my invisible friends.  My invisible friends were an e-mail loop of ten women that started when my oldest child was just a year old.  We spent time daily sharing our victories and our struggles.  We were safe ground for each other in a way that made sharing easy and judgement unnecessary.  The thing I noticed about my invisible friends is that they didn't replace real friends.  I still needed face time with people in my everyday world.

The virtual world provides so many opportunities for interaction.  It provides endless ways to use time.  It provides an illusion of connection.  It does not provide anything but the virtual.  To get the true connection, the true interaction and the true use of time requires real people, in a real place, sharing real time.  Anything else is virtually worthless. 

I found this article Meet the New American Family, Digitally Deluged by Albert Mohler while reading another blog and think that the information is worth considering.  Do we use media to connect with others or do we use media because the media makes a connection with us?  Do we let our interest in the virtual overshadow our interest in what is real around us?  Do the digital things in this world enhance or distract our lives?  And if we have a difficult time managing the virtual and the real how much harder is it for our children?

This kind of information and thoughtful consideration aren't popular at my house because it usually means that the children or husband or I am going to be deprived of something that we've held near and dear.  I won't say that all media in our house will go.  I will say that I am thinking about what changes we can make to be good stewards of our time and resources in the area of virtual reality. 

Where do you draw the line on the digital deluge?

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! It gives me a lot to think about right now, especially being an introvert most of the time. God wants our lights to shine! Thank you for the reminder.