When I was growing up, in the 90s, no one owned a cellphone. To use the internet we had to use dial-up which required that no one be using the land line phone. So we never were allowed to use the internet for long periods of time because what if someone needed to get in touch with a member of our family? They couldn’t.
Now, in 2014, EVERYONE, starting from infancy (no joke), owns either an Iphone, Ipad, Android, Tablet, or some sort of electronic device that allows users to connect to the internet. Where did this constant need to be in front of a cellphone screen at all times come from? Almost every other day there are stories in the news about fatal car accidents caused by one of the drivers involved texting and driving. In the 90s, there was no txting, if we had something to say to a person we simply walked on over to his or her house and had a face to face conversation ( I know that concept seems far fetched).
In an article titled “Becoming Screen Literate” that I read for my Introduction to Writing Arts class the author Kevin Kelly makes a very good point when he says “When technology shifts, it bends the culture”. Children who are raised today in this “Web 2.0” era are raised on Ipads and Iphones. Twenty years ago when I was a toddler it was down right socially unacceptable for babies to play with anything that wasn’t a teething ring or plastic baby toy. Does having an Ipad plopped in front of you at such a young age have an affect on the way you will grow up? Of course it does.
Technology has and is taking over every component of the world, therefore our culture is simply shifting. One of my colleagues, Jared Hussey, tweeted a very amusing article the other day that I think any person obsessed with their cell phone needs to take a look at. The article is called ” The NoPhone” written by The NoPhone Team.
This article is essientally a sales pitch for the teams product which they named the NoPhone. They describe the phone as a”technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact that allows you to stay connected with the real world”. (Pictured Below)
This “phone” is basically a piece of plastic that gives the illusion of holding a phone, but has no connection to the internet. It is encouraging people to put down their cellphones for once in their life and get back to reality and the real people standing all around. In the testimonials section of this article Whitney R states that “”With the NoPhone, my eye contact skills have improved 73%.”
The NoPhone article is a spoof, but it sends a real message. Technology is great, it has help us as a culture progress in the right direction, but there is a point where too much of anything becomes unhealthy,Children should be encouraged to get out and play with the children that live in their neighborhoods not to sit in a dark room and play games on their Ipad. People should feel comfortable having face to face conversations without having to look down at their phone every five seconds to see if they have received a text. As technology advances, generations with change, and who’s telling how cultures will continue to shift. In the video below Gary Turk explains perfectly the negative affect the constant use of cellphones is having on society as a whole.
Ginger Page is a free writing app available for iOS, Windows, Chrome and Android . It is a portable word processor that offers many features to help one correct and enhance his or her writing. Some of the features Ginger Page offers are auto-correct, a word enhancer that gives suggestions on how to better phrase what you are trying to say, and the option to share your text via email, text message, or social media.
Some of the other tools available through Ginger Page are a translator which allows one to type text in one language and translate to another, a dictionary, and a synonym search engine to help find synonyms to any word one types in the search engine.
Bolter discusses the future of digital writing in his Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print which is what this app promotes, digital writing. It allows anyone who has access to apps to write for any purpose whether it be a small novel or an email to their supervisor. The app was designed to help people enhance their writing before publishing it on the internet. This is just a new type of “writing space” as Bolter puts it.
One of the most important reasons why one should want to protect their “webutation” is to make sure that his or her real life relationships aren’t affected by whats on the internet about him or her. I came across an interesting article via ZITE that was published by The Huff Post labeled “This Is How Technology Is Affecting Your Relationship”.
Now I’ve heard of relationships ending because one person in the relationship was caught messaging someone they were cheating on the other with via Facebook, but this article tells and extreme horror story when it comes to ones relationship being effected by technology. According to the article a 32 year old newly weds marriage ended because his wife fell in love with a person you met on “Mafia Wars”, a game played through Facebook. When I read this I was in utter shock, how could this be a real story? How could a newly married woman fall in love with a computer avatar and leave her husband? This man thought his wife was playing a harmless Facebook game, but really she was going on virtual dates every time she logged into “Mafia Wars”. Im sure the newlywed wife didn’t sign up to play the game to seek out a new husband, but the point is that it did. In this situation technology took the wheel and tore a part a new marriage, something that used to be thought of as a sacred, unbreakable bond.
In another section of the article a mental health counselor, Bea Arthur, states that “I see people delaying meeting in person for as long as possible, although we know better.” when speaking on the topic of online dating. From this statement, it leads me to believe people are falling in love with figments of their imagination, whatever they can find on the internet about their potential boyfriend or girlfriend is what they believe to be true about that person.
Protecting your webutation is so important for this reason, how can one ever online date if every time anyone types your name in the Google search engine nothing but negativity pops up? Not only is technology effecting our romantic relationships , but it’s effecting our professional ones too. Every time one submits a resume to any company, that company looks up his or her name on the internet. If that company finds anything they deem to be inappropriate they automatically move onto the next application/ resume. Companies don’t want any employs that could possibly represent their company in a negative light and technology has made it much easier for them to easily weed out the bad seeds. Technology has given anyone with access to the internet access to everyone’s webutations.
When I think of the many issues humans face with computers and the internet being so prominent in today’s society I automatically think of safety and relationships. I think of these two things automatically because those are two areas of my life that have been so greatly affected by the internet. As all other humans, I never stopped to think that computers and the internet have affected other people in many different ways.
After reading an essay that was assigned to me which was titled, “A Rape in Cyberspace, or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society”, my eyes were opened to a whole new world I’ve never been exposed too. I am often ashamed to admit this, but my geeky older brother is sadly a frequent player of the online game World of Warcraft which I couldn’t even begin to explain the purpose of. Watching my brother go from a social member of our society who used to go out with his friends and have bonfires on Friday nights, to a zombie who eats and stays up to all hours of the night to play a computer game broke my heart. Reading Dibbell’s essay about an online world where college kids log in every day to role play their fictional characters confused me , why are college students doing this when they could go to the student center and live out their fictional game. I have no idea what type of quirky action plays out in my brother’s virtual community, but in Dibbell’s essay she explains a rape that happens in an online house called LambdaMOO. If I thought being so submerged in an online game was unhealthy before, I was right.
Not only do these online games promote people to alienate themselves from reality, but they are filled with creepy dark minded people. It scares me to think that my future children could end up addicted to an online game that contains creepy men who are just trying to get a rise out of harming others. In the essay Dibbell interviews one of the women whose online character gets raped by the voodoo doll. In this interview “Legba”, the lady whose character gets raped admitted to actually crying about the situation. If an online game is projecting mental distress onto its players the game is obviously poisonous and unhealthy. In a book Jay David Bolter wrote titled Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print he states that novelist E. Annie Proulx stated that “no one is going to read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever” in 1994. I bet she would have never imagined that people would transfer not only their books to digital copies but also their relationships. It’s one thing to use social media apps like Facebook and Instagram to connect with friends who one has met through the course of their social life, but to use the internet to create those relationships is just unhealthy in so many ways. Humans need actual human interaction to stay sane, and these cyber world games are doing the complete opposite.