Monday, January 09, 2012

It's true...and a little frightening. I see it in the way that I approach the world - very different from the way it was 10 years ago - but, even more dramatic, is the way I see it in the way Colin's girls, my step-daughters, approach the world. They are plugged in kids who hang out with plugged in kids.

In some ways, the use of technology has made so much of what we do easier. Information is more accessible, world wide communication is easier (isn't skype a beautiful thing!?), entertainment is everywhere and we can do things online we never imagined.

From my perspective, though, there are things that are lost. The art of conversation, for example. Family time seems harder to find. Who remembers car rides where you had conversations, listened to music (together) and played silly car games to pass the time? Now there's dvd players, ipods, etc. Patience seems at an all time low. So much is at their fingertips...and ours...and it seems we expect so much more to be immediate. The internet is fast so why shouldn't everything else?

Expectations are different too. Before texting, there was email. Before email there were answering machines. Before answering machines, there were busy signals. We waited. Now, no matter where we are or who we're with, it seems, we jump and make the buzz of the phone a priority. If, heaven forbid, you are one of the few that will let their phone sit, the chance is good that the person on the other end make all sorts of assumptions. You are mad them. There's something wrong. As an employer, perhaps their frustration boils...even on the weekend. We are expected to be accessible all the time but at what cost. And what about the school system? When I was in school (and yes, I recognize that was a long time ago), we did not need ipods, laptops, and internet access everywhere to make our education happen. I recognize that times are changing and I recognize that some of these tools can make learning easier. I see the advantages but, again, at what cost socially, educationally and financially? Then there's the pressure and expectation to "have" these things. Ipods, ipads, phones for everyone in the house (what age is the right age for a cell phone, by the way?), multiple tvs, pvrs (which I admit, I'm addicted to) and computers. 

As I'm trying to figure out what it means to live well and to help raise two girls to live well, there's a lot of questions in my mind where the use of technology is concerned. I know, too, that there are many different opinions to the whole discussion out there. How do we figure out how to utilize the strengths of technology without letting it control us?

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