I’m living like most in the “alone together” world that Sherry Turkle writes about in her new book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” and Megan Garber describes in her recent article in the January/February edition of the Atlantic Monthly. I’ve got two out of my three kids entrenched in an electronic world, one in which cell phones almost seem like appendages to their physical bodies. In order to fight this trend, I encourage (or make!) my youngest son, an avid reader, to bring books and activities to restaurants, in the car and in waiting rooms. It’s such a deviation from the norm, that the orthopedist I took my 16 year old to just yesterday commented how proud he was to see an 8 year old reading a book and not on a device of some sort.
We as parents allow kids to bring electronics everywhere just to pacify them and give us a few moments of peace. But sometimes when we’re back at home and they are device free it’ll backfire as kids, uninspired by ordinary play, unaccustomed to social interactions at play dates, wander the house saying “I’m bored. What can I do?” But don’t let me digress from the point I’d like to make.
I’ll admit that I live in the same world myself too, reliant on my Samsung Galaxy to keep me up-to-date by the minute on various social media and news happenings. I have it most everywhere I go and am in a full blown panic when I misplace it even for a minute. I fight the urge to keep it with me at bedtime since it distracts me from reading my books and magazines. But I’m proud to say that my device gets ignored on a regular basis and I’m not just talking about the dinner hour when we all try to respect a cell phone free zone.
Come friends, into my kitchen, to cook with me. Enter a place where dialogue is sacred and cell phone alerts get muffled by kitchen sounds. My friends and I keep the phones tucked away in purses or plugged into chargers. Our devices will only come out for an occasionally recipe check or to make sure no one is trying to find us. But for the most part, when we’re together in the kitchen, we’re heavily engaged in cooking chatter, baking banter or downright serious conversation. This precious time, a requirement to the mental and emotional well- being of friends, is both required and respected by all those who have drank the Cooking With Friends Kool-Aid.
I couldn’t agree more with the premise of Sherry Turkle’s new book: “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Each Other and Less from Technology” which exposes the dependency that society has on electronics which isolates us from each other. Nevertheless, I am blessed to have found a fulfilling way to connect with my fellow humans, a vital component to health and happiness. Plus, we’re getting a handsome bonus — delightful food!