Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Help! Help! Our Children Are Drowning In Technology

In our wonderful technological world of internet, Android phones, iPads and instant gratification, we've lost a great deal of our humanity. People text and e-mail rather than talk to one another directly. E-mails and texts don’t contain tone of voice or feeling. We lose the power to communicate. We become remote, once removed from the personal. We use tweets and abbreviated letters instead of real words. We've all seen people text at concerts, movies, theatre. We no longer concentrate on interpersonal relationships. People don't matter. We don't even talk to one another or look each other in the eye. Conversation will become a lost art. Does anyone really care that you were eating a hamburger at midnight in Times Square? How do we really feel about each other in REAL TIME?

We're living in a world of virtual reality. It separates parents from children and us from each other. Talk TO me, not AT me. We definitely do things faster but not better. The internet, with its Facebook and blogs, is supposed to unite us but it really isolates us. We are seeing a new generation who cannot spell, don't know grammar and have limited vocabularies. Listening skills are going by the wayside and today's technology fails to encourage their listening skills. What happened to the days when parents sat and read to their children? Even on “play dates,” kids go into separate rooms and talk to each other on the computer.

Facebook, which began as a dating service for college kids, now connects us with people who we haven't seen in years and really don’t care about us (or us about them). Otherwise we would have remained in touch! Letter writing is a thing of the past and many jobs are now obsolete. Most magazines, newspapers and books you can actually hold in your hands are disappearing. All this is supposed to be "green" and wonderful but I very much doubt it. We can't go backward but we also can't let technology destroy our souls. The internet promises, "Oh the places we’ll go and the people we’ll see” (to quote Dr. Seuss). Of course they won’t be real. No pictures can replace visiting a new country; no picture of a new grandchild can replace a hug.

One of the funniest things that ever happened to us took place a few days ago. A friend of ours just bought a brand new smartphone. He showed us all its tricks and then said, “Look at this!” He typed in the name of our restaurant (on 72nd St and Third Ave) and sure enough, there it was on the screen of his phone. “Isn't this the greatest thing you've ever seen?” he gloated, “This is right where we are.” The only problem was we already knew where we were. “Parlez moi d’amor,” i.e. speak to me of love but please don't tweet it, text it or e-mail it, just say it.

:) Sue

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