Re: Editor Bob Hall’s January 20, 2012 column “Drawing the wireless line.”
In 1984 I worked in an office in Melbourne, Australia. Two co-workers were working with the newest research project “digital communication.” Our office was connected to a computer at Melbourne University, several kilometres down the road. One afternoon, I heard a lot of laughing coming from the workspace of these two co-workers; and, ever curious (because they were pretty quiet people generally)… I looked in. The young guys were sitting side by side, each in front of a small screen and keyboard. Both were laughing out loud every few seconds. One fellow was sending jokes down the line to Melbourne University — and back it came to the other fellow. They were both elated! Laughing and cracking jokes and loving the new form of communication.
I wondered, way back in 1984 if the world would come to this. Sitting next to someone and typing them messages.
Our children do not have the benefit of the experience of participating in meaningful conversation. We do. Text messaging has not offered our children an alternative form of communication — it has become their main form of communication. Cell phones are great, they can transmit information across a network in nano seconds. Great for emergencies. Unfortunately… because no message waits — every message becomes an emergency.
Kids are attached to the cell phone and the constant barrage of news about the every move of everyone that they might have on their contact list or their friend list on Facebook. Many kids (and adults) check their phones more often than they make eye contact with the people they are with.
So, parents, I support Bob Hall and his “drawing the line” on cell phone use. Our kids don’t need a cell phone just because “everyone else has one.” Frankly, if there ever was an emergency I would want my kids to be able to look out for themselves and others — a skill you do not get from texting.
Set a daily limit to online time (computers, cell phones, games – including poker)… or, we (parents) will be responsible for raising a generation of children that are so overstimulated, over-gamed, over connected — life itself, the real people sitting next to them — goes unseen, ignored and not important enough to get to know.