Screen time and the Communication Breakdown: Does it Have to Be?

The other day, I ran across a great blogger, poet, and artist that at the time tickled my inner senses about the zombified effects these hand held screens can have on our life. You see, I just had to give my son Tommy a crash course lesson on social media etiquette when he got his first comment, which happened to be a pretty harsh criticism from a 10 year old YouTuber who thought my son was “weird.” You see, he made a great video double exposing his shadow as an introduction to a marvelous story of a child’s imaginary play.

He was crushed. While I had to work on his general feeling state and initial drive to retaliate, we got to a place where we could let the feelings of hurt go, take a high road, and be grateful for the comment received. He chose not to engage in some tit for tat childhood psychodrama that would continue to fuel animosity and division. Instead, he chose growth by practicing an assimilation of perspectives.

In Richard Thomas‘ wonderful poem Communication Breakdown, he speaks of a phone being broke, he explores the shadow side of today’s communication barriers and the need for instantaneous gratification through 5 GLTE. In this epitaph to the mighty Newtonian box of IM, Instagram, DM, and of course the lovely world of WP, he pays homage to his fallen comrade of the written word. Yes the mighty, sleek, stylish, and annually renovated, rejuvenated, and only slightly modified Apple I-Phone. Yours again for the low low price of another 1k if you want to stay abreast of the latest technological advances.

Richard’s poem brings attention to our reliance on screens of various sorts as a substitute for the true art of communication, a dialogue that allows for two perspectives to foster growth in each through the art of listening.

As with any tool, they can be used for good or bad, right or wrong purposes. In and of themselves tools are neutral agents that represent the intentions of a user who will engage their purpose towards an ultimate aim. The I Phone can be a great agent of inner and outer, exploration and growth. However, this can only happen when we allow the initial social conversation to open up to dialogue that will foster such astute transitions. Thank you for your poem Richard, and I look forward to the book.

You too can check out this poem and his blog at

River of Word Flow: Rhymes and Reasons

I hope you enjoy… and Thank You for The Book Richard. I have read and will write a review soon.

Dr. Tom

6 Comments
  1. What an honor to follow you, Thomas. I love your insights and view of life. So glad I discovered your blog. ❤️

    I am quite passionate about using technology wisely ….. and NOT letting it “use us”, especially our youth …… in their formative years, and as they start to navigate their word. For watching the world from their tablets and smartphones distorts their reality …. they lose touch of the real world and their value systems reach a level of deterioration ….. I noticed that in some of my friends’ children who spend inordinate time with gadgets …..

    I’m definitely not discounting the need for technology to keep up with our evolving world …… I’m simply acknowledging the need of strong parental guidance and love ……

    Ultimately these are but tools ….. powerful tools ….. that we should all benefit from with judicious use. ❤️

    • Very well said. Moderation is a key so often forgotten. When used to pass on values and to learn, it is a powerful tool. When used as a babysitting device, the psychological and physiological problems caused by its ever present intrusion into one’s daily life are sorely unknown.

  2. Very pertinent!

    I believe instant messages remove the real meaning of what we want to say, leading to misinterpretations. About social media, the story is almost the same, because it’s one illusion where people pretend to have perfect lives. Some use for cheating, and others to “wash dirty clothes”.

    Balance is the perfect key to deal with new technologies. I use social media to communicate with my friends and healthily tease my partner, with silly movies and even post music for him. But, as a future mother, I would never allow my kids to have their phones during dinner time (for example). I had my first cell phone with 20 years, and I was happy.

    • These can be beautiful tools only if used correctly. It takes a great parent to help there children navigate the dangers of the world. This includes the forms of media they are exposed to. What I have found is that using both the good and bad elements of media fosters open communication between parents and children, which can allow moments for the passing of inter-generational values to be passed on. In the end, with more people taking responsible approaches to the media consumed, and using it as a tool to pass on familial values, the media itself will loose the weight of shock factors as people begin to see it for what it truly is.

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