Remember the movie the “Terminator” with good ol’ Arnold Schwartzenager? The premise was that machines were going to take over the world. Welcome to the real world 2017 where technology is taking over mankind. Not by way of Cyborgs (YET) but through handheld devices, computers, and gaming systems. We are at a crossroads of the destiny of mankind at this very moment. Our children’s welfare and future depend on the choices we are making right now.
Most Baby Boomers could take or leave the technology that is consuming our children and grandchildren. We remember the days before this time in history, when we made awesome memories based on our incredible imaginations, which grew bigger and more fantastic every day. Anything was possible. We were living life to the fullest, taking in the world around us, having adventures, and making cool stuff with our hands. If anyone had a problem with us they said it to our face and it somehow got sorted out.
These days we look around us and shake our heads because so much is being lost. Our children and grandchildren are being turned into little addicted zombies. Children are being occupied and soothed with not just television but also by having multimedia devices shoved at them when they get wiggly, complain, or ask too many questions. It’s like “Here you, Hazel, go play with mommy’s phone.” And the child is three years old or younger. It is hard to watch childrearing being conducted with very little interaction. Many families spend their evenings and weekends with everyone playing on some kind of electronic device, barely acknowledging each other.
When my kids were growing up (in the 90’s), we spent the evenings talking about our day’s events, playing board games, making crafts, reading books, and even playing imagination games with dolls or toy cars, etc. Kids under ten nowadays are focused on mindless electronic games, wasting away hours staring at a digital screen. Today’s teenager is obsessed with social media – what people are saying or not saying to them or whether someone “liked” their status. Self-love and confidence has been replaced by “selfies” and selfishness. These poor kids spend so much time with their brains locked into what is going on inside their phones that they do not know how to successfully navigate through basic life situations. They are even losing their capability to appropriately communicate, interact or even naturally emote. I suppose emojie’s can help!
In the earlier days of cell phones, maybe ten years ago, it was considered rude for people to talk or text on their phones while in the company of others. Today, things are different. I almost find myself apologizing if I am out to lunch chatting with a friend and they have a call or text come in. “Oh, sorry – go ahead and get that.” I’ll say, as though it must automatically be very important. I mean, that smartphone doesn’t just beep for nothing, right. And then they will completely check out from our real-time conversation to become absorbed by the phone. I am cool with that when it is an anticipated call or text, or something of importance. But for a “Hi, how ya doing?” and “Yeah, I’m just out to lunch with a friend.” ? Come on, people. Really?
Sadly, our brains are being rewired by the buzz we get from constant stimulation and validation. You can have an interesting time watching people for about 5 or 10 minutes and observing how often they look to their phones for comfort. They are checking for text messages or Facebook and Instagram likes. Looking for acceptance by their 300 “friends” and their elusive self-esteem. The truth is social media does have. some positive aspects, but in many ways it can be a real downer. If people do not like or comment on posts and pictures a person may feel rejected and depressed. Not receiving responses to text messages easily does the same. We are a society reliant on the input from other people, and the stimulus of nonsensical games and apps. The stimulation our brains receive can be as addicting as drugs.
So, if you think the “Terminator” was too farfetched, consider this: According to a recent news report, Disney has a purchase order in for an untold number of humanlike androids, which will roam their parks and interact with guests sometime in the near future. I tried to find more information about this on the internet but was unsuccessful. However, a scary little chill went down my spine when I saw the report last week on the news. “Haste la vista, baby.”