Almost every day I read an article bemoaning the fact that kids today prefer video games and texting over in-person contact with friends and family members. I’ve observed this in my grandchildren and made a few bemoaning noises of my own.

Then I considered a close relative (over 50; shall remain nameless here in deference to my extended health) and her passion for playing solitaire on her smart phone at all hours. This was followed by a fractured conversation with my friend Tony (slightly over 70) during which I was competing with his phone for his attention, and lost. Tony confessed his “addiction” to solitaire and other games whenever he had a free moment.

What if, I began to wonder, it isn’t just the kids doing this?

Ever the enterprising social scientist, I conducted an informal survey by walking around the frequent flyer club of a major airline, spying on smart phone usage by members I eyeballed to be over 50. The result: 40% of the phones were being used for phone calls; 60% were being used for games.

Medical researchers will tell you that playing word and card games (Scrabble, bridge, etc.) and doing puzzles (crossword, sudoku, etc.) keep the brain nimble, and help with memory and reasoning power. But when game playing starts interfering with social graces . . . that’s when I cry foul.

I’m not advocating for anyone to go cold turkey on solitaire or Candy Crush Saga or whatever the online game du jour is. Just, please, turn your phone off when you’re with me.


2 responses to “TECHNOLOGIES ‘R US”

  1. Scott Stowers says:

    I wonder if my grandfather thought that same thing about us watching that (fairly) new thing called television. I believe that he would have agreed with Groucho Marx’s comment that television made him smarter. When someone turns it on, he went to the other room to read a book.

    Cheers my friend

  2. David Lubert says:

    Scott makes a great point, but I would not limit this to the television. I think the same thing was being said about the advent of the radio and how people were consuming their news via the “box”! Technology is now all around us and there is no dispute about that, but I do not recall historical period pieces that questioned the impact of television or radio on social etiquette . Maybe there was…….That being said, the art of conversation might be at risk…….

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to George's Newsletter!

  • Articles on Life After 50
  • New Ways to Look at Retirement
  • Planning for Retirement When the Old Rules No Longer Apply

Stay up to Date!