I admit it. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I get on my rants (I can see my family nodding their heads now) on how society is too dependent on technology – how so many people, including myself, waste hours on social media when there are so many more productive things to do. As with most parents, I struggle to find a healthy balance for my kids. I think my daughter cringes every time she asks to play on her iPad, because she has already heard my impassioned speech on what too much technology does to her development.
However, with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing people to social distance, technology has been our lifeline. For more than a month, people have been isolated from loved ones, from their daily dose of social therapy, from their actual therapy, doctors’ appointments, from classrooms, and so much more. I truly realized the necessity of technology this past weekend when I and a group of my coworkers spent three hours on Zoom during a virtual brunch. As with most businesses, we have had to lay off employees and cut the hours of others. We went from spending eight hours a day together to nothing. Seeing their
beautiful faces on my computer screen brought joy…it was “good for the soul” as one of them said. During our lengthy chat, we talked about what it would be like if this happened before technology so easily connected us.
This past month of social distancing has been tough, and we are all waiting for the day when we can get back to some semi-normal way of life, but the access of technology has sustained many of us during this historical time. Millions of people can work remotely, students are able to finish out the school year with online learning, doctors are able to meet virtually with patients, families can order groceries online, and businesses have gotten creative in ways to virtually connect with guests. As with hundreds of wineries across the country, the Firehouse Wine Cellars has been holding weekly virtual tastings with our wine club members. It not only connects us with our members, it connects the members to each other. While our winery business has changed, technology has helped us maintain a relationship with our guests, who are the reason we do what we do.
Even my mother, who is not well-versed in technology, has used it to meet up with her five sisters for a virtual happy hour once a week. And my 10-year-old daughter is surviving her quarantine life by “zooming” with her friends nearly every night, and her classmates at least once a week. We are surviving social distancing because we can still make a connection with those around us. While we are praying for the day to come when we can sit next to each other, until then we have technology to get us through.
So, the next time my daughter asks to use her iPad, I will be less judgmental and more compassionate. She too is struggling, and right now technology is her only connection to her pre-Covid-19 life.