Thursday, September 18, 2014

Feeling Unplugged

I'm working on a book right now that is about child rearing and how to spot if your child is having difficulties, or might be outside the "normal" ranges and in need of therapy. It's a bit one-sided (as you might expect, since the author is only one person - so of course she has her opinion), but some of the info is actually kind of interesting.

What struck me today, though, is that a lot of what she talks about for infants and small children about how they learn and learn to interact is also applicable to adults.

I just finished a section all about how very young children shouldn't be over-exposed to computers/tablets/smart phones because they can become - in essence - addicted to the stimulation. Over time, they stop being interested in the world around them and will only focus on the screens, or other things with instant sensory gratification.

What struck me as odd about that, today, is that on the radio this morning they were talking about some city in China which is (supposedly, at least) creating "tech lanes" on the sidewalks. Basically, these are areas where people who are using their technology can walk, while people who are not using tech can walk in other areas.

I'm not entirely sure whether these lanes are supposed to protect the people with their heads down who are totally oblivious to the world, or if they're supposed to protect the rest of the world from getting run into by those people with their heads down.

I found myself having the same reaction that one of the people on the radio had. He said "Or maybe people could just turn off their phones for long enough to walk outside and actually interact with the world."

As I was leaving work, today, the twenty-something husband of a co-worker was walking to the garage with us. He had dropped his smart phone and the screen had cracked, and he was kind of giving the "that's the way of the world" response. So I held up my flip phone, which I've dropped enough that the back has popped off and the battery has come out, but which still works. His response was "You don't ride the bus. I'd be so bored for 45 minutes without it!"

Whatever happened to people reading books? Or listening to the world instead of having earbuds in all the time? When did small children have to be stimulated and entertained at every waking moment? When did it become impossible to enjoy a quiet bus ride as a time to just calm down and not be connected? Why do I suddenly want to go live in the middle of a no-wireless-service zone?

And who wants to come with me?

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