Since my son was in the University of Virginia Glee Club several years ago, we receive their periodic newsletters, which I always enjoy reading. However, the most recent one had a troubling article written by the conductor, Frank Albinder.

Albinder was dismayed that the smallest number of students auditioned for the club this year since he arrived in 2002. This wasn’t because students were busy with other clubs or sports. In fact, participation in all groups at the university suffered from the same lack of interest.

In his opinion, this disinterest is a result of the effects of technology on “brain development and other aspects of behavior and personality.” He commented that while university curricular classes can ban device use during class, he is unable to do so during rehearsals.

Albinder added, “Students are more and more distracted, seemingly unable to focus or concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time.” Also, he noted that students simply don’t have the desire to commit to weekly rehearsals, working toward mastering vocal pieces for a concert that is weeks away. From his perspective, the goal is not immediate enough in an age when young adults see instant gratification as a norm.

Smart phones only came into wide use ten years ago, but the changes to us, not as a society, but as people, are astounding.

Have we really gotten to the point where we are not unwilling, but actually unable, to participate fully in activities that are both fun and enriching? Choosing not to participate is very different from being incapable of participating.

Are you living your life on a three-by-five screen instead of the three-dimensional world (or a three-dimensional reality)? Is your natural curiosity being satisfied with Instagram and Snapchat instead of life’s many opportunities?

In this new decade, I challenge you to take a break from your phone, even if it is just for a few hours each day. Open yourself up to the possibility of alternatives to video games and social media. Explore your options.

Don’t let technology limit your life.