After watching the Frontline Special titled, Digital Nation, the PBS special documenting the dramatic effects of this digital age on America, I began to consider how these same ideas have effected my home. Like the producers of the television show, I have stopped and stared at my family as objectively as possible- mom playing Hanging with Friends on her phone, my eldest son texting while playing XBOX 360, and my youngest playing Minecraft while watching other people doing the same on YouTube meanwhile my phone beeps a thousand notifications. Is this who we have become? ow often do you text your mom, dad or friends who are sitting in the same room? When was the last time you actually chose to have a face-to face conversation, and turned your phone off?
Like many of the psychiatrists, researchers, and other physicians I believe that our addiction to electronic devices and the Internet is not only making us less intelligent it is making us socially inept. People do not interact with one another nearly as much as before the Internet revolution occurred. We text each other, send a message on Facebook or tweet. Rarely do we sit down to dinner without at least 4-5 checks of our phones. I find the effect the internet, social media, and cellular phones has had on us to be extremely altering.
People can no longer focus on one task at a time. Even I find myself reaching for my phone as a habitual distraction every few moments. I have done so at least 4 times while writing this blog. The constant interruptions, the change in thought patterns, and the mindless distraction of constantly being connected with someone or something is overwhelming. It is little wonder there hundreds of ADHD commercials on TV. Is our destiny to be the species that can not focus for more than 3 seconds?
I no longer think ti matters whether we consider this an addiction or a change in who we are as humans, but whatever we call it it is bringing about some dramatic changes. Al lour lives are now effected by these technological trends it is no longer limited to the younger generations. I fear that the generation my children belong to will not be able to focus long enough to read an entire book let alone have the attention span to complete higher education or beyond. I believe that the digital age has not only made us slaves to electronics and what they offer, but it has made the human race dramatically less capable of creative thought or design.
I hope some of the ongoing studies will pull our proverbial heads out of our screens and teach us how to be intelligent again, teach us how to engage with other people again- teach us how to be human again.