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.
This weekend instead of going out to Halloween parties I decided to drive home from school (only 30 minutes) to babysit and make some extra money. I’ve been babysitting this family since I was a freshman in high school so i’m extremely close and familiar with the kids (four boys) and the parents. The mom Stacy and I got to talking and somehow it came up that her son Brandon who’s in 7th grades’ entire school has switched from textbooks to iPads. She said that all he comes home with in his bag is a planner and an iPad.
I thought she might be pleased with the change. I know my back wouldn’t be half as messed up as it is now if I didn’t have to carry all my books in middle and high school. I was surprised when she told me she absolutely hated the change and wanted them to switch back to books. She told me that he brandon and his friends constantly get in trouble for playing games and facetiming each other in class. While she doesn’t stand up for his actions, she knows Brandon is not the only one who is participating in these activities and wonders why they wouldn’t disable downloading games and facetiming and make sure it was only used for educational purposes?
I definitely agree with Stacy on this matter and was also confused as to why they wouldn’t disable these functions when giving iPads to middle schoolers. Another disturbing thing she mentioned was that the homeroom teachers allow them to play games, or at least turn the other cheek. I became best friends with people in my homeroom class in middle school and then on to high school so this concerns me. If I had a shiny device in front of my face I definitely wouldn’t make an effort to make conversation with people I barely knew.
I thought this was important to discuss because this is really where our classrooms are heading: full on technological. And according to this mom, the iPad idea definitely has a few kinks to work out.
According to this article tweeted by my classmate, there is a class being offered at the University of Pennsylvania (an IVY LEAGUE might I add), that is called “wasting time on the internet”. The professor who teaches this class, Kenneth Goldsmith, is a poet and creative writing professor and teaches it from that angle. In the course description he writes “Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written?”
While these are all interesting questions on a course description, I feel like it’s completely ridiculous for this to be offered as a class at an ivy league school. As a student of creative writing I and II, when i’m trying to come up with something to write about all I do is troll the internet and look at random sites. I’m unsure if this class would be teaching you HOW to troll the internet (a skill that is easy to master) or you’d just be watching funny videos the whole time. Either way I’m jealous of the obvious easy a these ivy league students get to take