It is painful to watch children trying to show off for parents who are engrossed in their cell phones. Children are nostalgic for the ‘good old days’ when parents used to read to them without the cell phone by their side or watch football games or Disney movies without having the BlackBerry handy.
Teenagers would rather text than talk. They feel calls would reveal too much.
There are moments of opportunity for families; moments they need to put technology away. These include: no phones or texting during meals. No phones or texting when parents pick up children at school – a child is looking to make eye contact with a parent!
Thumbs up or thumbs down on a website is not a conversation. The danger is you get into a habit of mind where politics means giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to a website. The world is a much more complex place.
We are inhibited from aggression by the presence of another face, another person. We’re aware that we’re with a human being. On the Internet, we are disinhibited from taking into full account that we are in the presence of another human being.
It used to be that people had a way of dealing with the world that was basically, ‘I have a feeling, I want to make a call.’ Now I would capture a way of dealing with the world, which is: ‘I want to have a feeling, I need to send a text.’
Teenagers talk about the idea of having each other’s ‘full attention.’ They grew up in a culture of distraction. They remember their parents were on cell phones when they were pushed on swings as toddlers. Now, their parents text at the dinner table and don’t look up from their BlackBerry when they come for end-of-school day pickup.
What is so seductive about texting, about keeping that phone on, about that little red light on the BlackBerry, is you want to know who wants you.
What I’m seeing is a generation that says consistently, ‘I would rather text than make a telephone call.’ Why? It’s less risky. I can just get the information out there. I don’t have to get all involved; it’s more efficient. I would rather text than see somebody face to face.
I love sharing photographs and websites, I’m for all of these things. I’m for Facebook. But to say that this is sociability? We begin to define things in terms of what technology enables and technology allows.