Letter: Step away from the smartphone, look around

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I was riding through Bug Light Park in South Portland with my children on a beautiful summer evening; the ocean breeze cooling my skin, sailboats of all sizes leisurely cruising Casco Bay, the loons diving for their dinner. As I got closer to Bug Light, I started to ride past a crowd of people sitting on the benches and stones, all looking down at their smartphones in an unbreakable gaze. I was amazed at the sheer number of people doing this at once; I counted 24. I heard murmurs among the small groups talking about the different types of Pokemon they were catching or had caught. I looked at my children, and I couldn’t help but feel extremely disturbed. I don’t want this to be normal, accepted behavior.

We need to encourage the people we know who are transfixed by technology, including Pokemon GO players, to put the phones down and look up. There is so much out there in the real world to experience. To the people at Bug Light, I encourage you to say hello to the person next to you. Search the types of birds swimming in the bay, or what the name of that island is across the way. Once you find the answer, put the phone down, sense everything around you, and just stare into the distance. I guarantee you will find something far more important than a Bulbasaur.

Chris Kessler
South Portland