Are We There Yet

Are We There Yet?
Dr. Nanette Bowles

Dr. Nanette BowlesI’m convinced that the inventor of the backseat car movie monitors was a parent who was tired of hearing, “Are are there yet?” Personally, I’ve never had one of these, though my kids and I have driven behind people with them and really enjoyed guessing the movie.  I supposed these would have been great when we used to spend about 3 hours a day commuting.  Instead, we talked about what we would do or did at school and work.  We played word games, sang, practiced for spelling tests, read out loud, etc.  Three hours a day talking with my kids…how I would love even a fraction of that now!

Nowadays, it seems that kids (including my own) are plugged into their iPods, iPads, etc. while texting or surfing the web on their phones.  More than once, I’ve found myself talking, asking questions, etc. only to realize that my son did hear a word because his “ears were in”.  At dinner, my daughter can carry on a full conversation while texting another full conversation under the table. 

Even years ago, when cell phone were first becoming more prevalent, I remember eating at a restaurant and sadly watching as a mom talked on the phone, during the entire meal, while her daughter sat quietly and ate.  I’ve waited in Dr’s office lobbies where literally everyone, even the small kids, starred at a small screen.  I remember when we used to work together to find hidden objects in magazine pictures. 

Technology is progressing at light speed but I have to wonder if we (society) are really “progressing”.  Some inform the world of their every move but are we really Communicating?  We may have hundreds of “friends” but how many Real Friends do we have? 

I think there are pro’s and con’s to this new age of technology.  As I thought about this and talked with others, here are a few things I’ve come up with:

CON’s-It seems we have a hard time “unplugging” from our technology.  I know many teens that are waking up several times a night to reply to text messages or Facebook posts.  Image how this affects the quality of your sleep.  From my own Facebook “research”, one teen admitted that cheating has become so much easier and/or tempting because of technology.  I think so much more is expected of us now though also.  It seems that we HAVE to have smart phones that allow us to check our messages throughout the day.  It’s expected that business will truly run 24/7.  What happens to personal time, family time…peace and quiet? 

PRO’s-At the same time, we are able to stay in better contact through technology.  I gave my kids phones for ME, not them.  I like being able to stay in contact with them and feel more secure knowing they can call with questions or for help.  Though I don’t get together with most of my Facebook friends, it’s been great reconnecting with old co-workers, students who are now adults, childhood friends, etc.  I also get to know my kids friends better (though they may not like that).  Probably my favorite benefit to technology is how it’s helped even the playing field for people with disabilities.  My Deaf friends and I text each other, voice recognition has really been perfected over the years and many who have difficulty leaving their homes can now work competitively from them. 

There are many other advantages and disadvantages to technology.  Only time will tell how it has and is shaping our next generation.  So, ARE WE THERE YET?