Last Saturday my husband and I visited the Georgia Aquarium with some friends. Paul loves aquariums and science, so it was a fun way to celebrate his birthday. Of course, this is peak season for the aquarium – they were expecting 13,000-15,000 people on Saturday alone. It was pretty crowded!
The thing that stood out to me was the number of people walking around with their phones, cameras and tablets at eye level. So many people viewed most of the sights through the lens of their camera. Everywhere you looked, there were people snapping pictures. I watched countless people travel from one exhibit to another, never focusing on the actual exhibit or the people around them. They were more interested in capturing the perfect shot of the penguin sliding from one rock to the other.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Instagram! I did snap a picture of the four of us in line and a couple of my husband while he was in the penguin tunnel. But I decided that I’d rather spend the day holding hands with my husband and focusing on the things he found interesting than taking 87 pictures of fish that would just take up memory on my phone.
If you’re a photographer, don’t hate me. I know there is a time and a place for that. I just want us all (myself included!) to balance the time we spend taking pictures with the time we spend with real people who need our attention. There’s nothing wrong with capturing a great moment for your Instagram feed…just post it and then put your phone away for a while. You could even utilize #latergram and worry about filtering, tagging and captioning your picture later!
How about this for a challenge? The next time you head out with your family, allow yourself one or two “Instagram moments.” After that, put your camera or phone away and just enjoy being with them!