When our kids were growing up, our family used to love dressing up and going out to dinner. We laughed a lot, explored all kinds of new food, and Mike and Beth always felt grown up. Mostly though, we talked. They shared their school adventures and listened to memories of our childhood. We planned vacations and discussed Mike's latest idea for a crazy invention. It was the best of times.
Arthur and I went out to dinner several nights ago and sat next to a family of four. The mother was texting someone, the father was "checking the score," and both kids were watching their choice of movies on their iPads. The server had to clear his throat twice to even get their attention when taking their orders. I flashed back twenty some years and pictured the excitement in my children's eyes as Arthur relayed an adventure from history or science, that so enthralled them. I never saw the eyes of the two at the nearby table, because they never left their screens.
Life is definitely better in so many ways with the advent of all of our fine technology, but we have also lost something. There is a lack of oral communication now that is a bit frightening. I saw it every day in the classroom. Students often seemed smarter because all of the answers were literally at their finger tips, but they lost the adventure that goes with a physical search for information. For goodness sake, science classes now watch labs on computers rather than having hands-on experiences.
Teens meet friends (and predators) on line, find mates (and more predators ) on line and even have sex on line. Aghhhh. This can't be good. We know that their hours on line playing "shoot 'em up" games can have dangerous repercussions, and the wholesale distribution of various school assignments for a "reasonable" price allows the kids that much more time to play these games.
Technology, as all things, needs to be used in moderation. Parents need to supervise time spent on these devices, and everyone needs to leave technology at home when spending quality time together. If we don't follow those rules, I fear that our younger generations will never heed Burt Rutan's advice and "...look forward to exploration." Instead, we will have generations of experts in the ability to look up information, but there will be very few actually providing the world with much needed new discoveries.
Aziz Ansari's new book, Modern Romance, takes an interesting look at romance in this high-tech age. After much research he discovered that "meeting on line" is as common today as marrying "the boy next door" (or within five blocks of your home) was in years gone by. He puts a comedian's spin on this book of today and definitely makes the reader think.
On the other hand, 3:17 am ( the Lassie Files: book 2) by Nick Pirog requires no thinking at all. It is another silly romp with Henry Bins and his communicating animals, and I couldn't resist reading about their adventures. I reviewed book 1 several weeks ago, and when this popped up I just continued feeding my addiction. The books have little substance and no information, but they are captivating in an animal-loving way. I promise...no more for a while.
As always, complete reviews follow this blog.