The movie Disconnect is coming out soon. It is about true disconnect -- our ability to disconnect with technology from each other and desensitize ourselves from true human interaction. The Smart Phone and email and texts take us away from human interaction. The computer and Smart Phone make work ubiquitous so we can't ever truly escape the office. My fiancé Kirk Donnelly said employers love it when employees have home offices where the lines between work and private life blur. He's right. I'm never but a room away from my work. I am reachable 24 x 7, which is not good for work-life balance. You have to make a concerted effort to turn off your phone or leave it behind if you want true downtime.
At the same time, the Internet and email have given rise to a generation of haters -- people who hide behind the computer screen and feel no social consequence from being completely devoid of good manners or sensitivity to other's feelings. What consequence is there to mean-spirit comments about other people when you can leave it behind on some message board or even my Facebook Wall? No one ever sees you face to face -- and hence, the disconnect between real interaction and social propriety that enables people to unleash anger and malice to their heart's content. No social retribution. No reprisals. No consequences.
The detriment to personal relationships when you combine all this disconnect (and the TV, too) doesn't help the divorce rate. Couples use technology to avoid each other. They spend more time chatting on Facebook with unknown "friends" then they do each other. After a failed marriage that involved an inordinate amount of time spent in front of the TV, I decided to make some changes in my new relationship. The no. #1 rule: NO MORE TELEVISION! Yes, I know so many of you are falling off your seats and crying: NO WAY. YES WAY. We no longer watch TV. Instead, we've taken to playing our favorite card game, drinking a nice beverage, and discussing the day's events while we play. We also read books aloud to each other. And we go do things that don't involve the TV. I try to end my work at a certain time of day, too. And I leave my phone behind on weekends. Our relationship is going strong. We're connected to each other. We're aware of each other's lives and feelings. We go to movies on weekends as a family event.
Want to put the "connect" back in your relationships? I've just given you a blueprint.