Technology Separation Syndrome

While the term is just something I made up, TSS is absolutely real folks! It comes from things I have personally witnessed, when people are unable to put down their devices and connect with another human being, face to face.

Yesterday, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, we were getting snowed on, again. As I was leaving work, I spotted a young woman walking with bags of groceries and she looked like she was shivering. So I pulled alongside her in my car, rolled down my window and said, “Hey, you look really cold, would you like a lift?” She agreed and got in my car.

She told me where she wanted to be dropped off, only six blocks away. I began a conversation about the snow, and how unpredictable the weather can be here. I proceeded to recount a time when it snowed during the 4th of July fireworks show. Having received no reply whatsoever, I glanced over at this young woman sitting only a foot away from me, and her head was buried in her device. I felt very sad at that moment. How is it that in a period of about two minutes, as long as the drive took, that she was unable to stop and connect with me?

She was unable and/or unwilling to engage in a conversation with another human being. Is that why people are so lonely? Have they forgotten how to react with others? They cannot separate from their technology and it separates them from their fellow beings.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people walking out of a store, heads buried in their phones, not even bothering to look up at oncoming traffic, fully trusting the drivers not to hit them. Blows my mind! Is whatever they are doing on their phone more important that their safety?

Another incident occurred a while back at the coffee shop. I love watching people, no, not in a creepy way, but observing what is going on around me. It is fascinating. On this particular day, I saw a very cute couple sitting at one of the tables. Every so often, they’d chuckle, and look up at each other. I then made the connection that they were sitting across from each other and texting, each other! Being the good person I am (you can insert busy body if you’d like) I went up to them, touched their hands and said, “You should be gazing deeply into each others eyes and having a conversation.” They were startled at first, someone broke into their cocoon of technology, and then processed what I said and started giggling about the truth of my words. At least I was able to get through to them.

Then there is the other extreme, the person on their phone at the grocery store, talking in a loud voice telling the person on the other end how her visit to the gynecologist went. I cannot make this stuff up, it really happened. I just stood there dumbfounded, until she glanced up, and was upset that I was listening in, like it could be helped at the volume she was speaking. Another sad case of TSS. Her use of technology separated me from my appetite for dinner, after hearing the blow by blow of the exam. I guess folks believe there is some sort of wall of silence around them when they are on their phones.

As we are commissioned to be the salt and light of Jesus to a broken world, I take advantage of every opportunity I get to make an effort to be just that to my fellow human beings. I want to make a difference and be the encouragement that might just want that person needed in that moment.

“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead let us encourage one another all the more…” (Heb. 10:25 [GNB])

“Remember to welcome strangers into your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it.” (Heb. 13:2 [GNB])

Although I’m pretty sure if I had given a ride to an angel without knowing it, he would have put down his device and talked to me.

© 2019 Fluffy Puppy Publishing All Right Reserved

23 thoughts on “Technology Separation Syndrome

  1. Amen, well said! There was a guy who walked right off a 60 foot cliff in California while looking at his phone and he died. I saw a video once of a woman falling into a big fountain at a mall (the ones with coins in them) doing the same thing. I tell my kids that technology is just a tool and to use it wisely. I talk to them a lot about technology addiction and how people act in society. They see people driving while looking down at their phones and they point it out. I almost had a lady t-bone us at an intersection because she blew a red light while I was turning left on a green arrow. Thankfully I have a big V8 Chevy Silverado (All Star Edition) and I gunned it and was able to clear the intersection. I laid on my horn and she actually looked up and gave an angry look while honking at me as if I had done something wrong. She didn’t even know she blew the light! Crazy! A couple summers ago I watched a teenager drive by our house. He was texting on his phone and he actually went up over the curb into the grass by the sidewalk and then back down onto the street. He just about hit the parked car next door. People really need to put down the phones, it is insane. God bless!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a real problem…we all know it! What to do about it? I don’t know. One thing is to insist the kids put down their phones at the dinner table. Other than that, we each need to voluntarily separate for a period of time when we are with others!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this article. (And this comment) Every month or so, I will do a digital detox for about a week. It has helped me to not have “TSS”. I also have read some articles that I think has some great suggestions. Would you like me send you some of them?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate the offer but don’t need you to send me anything. I do not suffer from TSS. I only have a basic flip cell phone, do not get cell service at my ranch, nor do we have the internet out there. Thanks though!


  3. Truth!!! Though you had me laughing there at the end, this is a sad truth. You must seem like an angel walking around your town, to these folks who are suffering from TSS. May I be mindful of this myself! And help others break free. May you have lots of real life conversations this weekend!


  4. True! I try not to be glued to my phone in public so I can observe my surroundings. Especially considering that mass shootings happen, I want to be able to notice if people are behaving in a sketchy way or if a bad situation is unfolding near me. You’re right that there’s a big safety issue in being constantly distracted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so true! That is hilarious how you went right up and talked to them! I would be nervous to do that, but way to go! I see this a lot, and you can see it’s impact. Service people that can’t look you in the eye. Lots of lonely people with a gaping hole inside for real relationship and connection but tons of social media friends. Spot on!

    Liked by 1 person

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