“Bet you they’re talking to each other,” I commented, rather drily.
“At least they’re talking to each other, not texting,” my husband replied. He was undoubtedly remembering our family excursion on the Polar Express the previous December.
It was an exciting trip: a train ride through a moon-bathed snowscape, complete with porters bearing treats and a visit with Santa and his elves. However, across the aisle from us were two brothers, about nine and eleven years of age, who seemed oblivious to the magic mood surrounding them. Even though they were sitting side by side, they had their cell phones out, texting each other.
You’ve heard the phrase, “connected technology”. I am afraid technology is the main reason our coming generation is disconnecting. You’ve seen them, haven’t you – the kids who are holding their cell phones up in order to send a text message?
If you haven’t yet noticed this, then peer into a school bus next time you pass by. Bus trips are a lot quieter now; the students are busy texting rather than talking or playing pranks on each other.
Every generation seems to be up in arms over something; it’s rather funny that our kids main form of expression (as well as exercise) is pushing buttons with their thumbs and then raising their arms to transmit the message.
Whether this is a growing problem or a growing phenomenon depends on which side of the generation gap you are on. Students are not allowed cell phones in the classroom, but there are teachers who give out assignments and then turn their attention to their own cell phones.
If students could text their assignments to the teacher, perhaps more assignments would be turned in.
Every concert, every wedding ceremony, every graduation now begins with the announcement, “Please turn off your cell phones…” For some people this is like saying, “Please hold your breath until we are finished.”
Cell phones have given whole new meaning to the term “bar hopping”. For generations, people have gone to bars to socialize.
My children’s generation also goes to “hot spots”, but to them, this is the places in town where they can get the best reception for their cell phones. One thing still remains true, though: three to five bars a night invariably results in a hangover the next morning. Once they’re connected, they are loathe to hang up their phones.
Just the other day, my teenage son made the comment, “I think cell phones are like cigarettes.”
“Yeah,” I agreed with him, “they’re addictive.”
“No,” he attempted to explain, “What I mean is that you see people standing outside in all kinds of weather in order to be able to smoke. And you see people standing outside in all kinds of weather in order to be able to get reception on their cell phones.”
“Yeah,” I said, “That’s what I would call an addiction.”
Regardless, experts warn that parents who are not technology savvy soon won’t be able to communicate with their children. It’s true; if I can’t text my children to come to dinner, they may not eat.
But more worrisome is the fact that cell phones may be the beginning of the end of life as we know it. Case in point: my marriageable son told me he sent his new girlfriend a flower.
“What kind?” I asked, impressed with his thoughtfulness.
“A rose,” he replied.
“A rose- wow! What message did you send with it?”
“Here, I’ll show you,” he said. He pulled out his cell phone and quickly found the rose icon he had previously transmitted. The bud bloomed right before my eyes.
I was speechless for ten whole seconds – and I am hardly ever speechless.
“Why didn’t you order her a real flower?” I asked, feeling a little faint.
“You mean call a flower shop?” he responded, a hint of desperation in his voice. “That would mean I’d have to talk to someone. I’d rather just text.”
This generation has substituted technological interaction with socialization. Those of you who are worrying about a population explosion can put your minds to rest right now. If this keeps up, there may not even be a next generation.