The streets and parks of the NEast use to be cluttered with happy children playing games and socializing. No matter the climate they would endure the elements of Mother Nature and beg to spend a little more time enjoying life as a kid. Adults could be seen flooding the streets for shopping, small errands and to socialize with their neighbors.
The time I speak of is not 50 years ago but a mere 10 years ago -- before cell phones, iPods, BlackBerries and computers consumed our lives. However antiquated the concept may sound, the simple fact of a society becoming overly reliant on technology cannot be denied.
I am sure we have all at one point forgotten our cell phones and rather than continue along our way, we race back home for that precious little machine that links us to the world. Kids today are readily developing a language for text messaging and incorporating that into their daily lives.
“I teach a fifth grade class in the Northeast and I get papers all the time that contain ‘text lingo’ rather then the proper English words," Lauren said. "I can’t tell you how many times I have to tell students to put away their cell phones and pay attention. I graduated college in 2001 and do not consider myself old by any means but come on kids, play with a ball or something.”
This is not to say that all forms of technology are bad. There are some great medical advancements that save lives, which we have technology to thank. We now have the power to communicate and retrieve information from all over the world, making our civilization the most advanced it has ever been, but there comes a point when enough is enough. Are we really advancing with our communication since we rarely speak in person and have no need for face-to-face contact?
Too many individuals spend their time wasted before a machine rather than living their lives and enjoying the true experiences. Wii has taken the place of yoga classes, baseball, tennis and other socializing sports or activities. Video games become more important in a child’s learning processes than actually reading a book.
“I must be an old mom of 29, but I teach my child to read, write and learn from books and time spent with her. Video games may be great for an hour but not the whole night," Angelina said. "So many moms I have talked to buy their kids these educational video games rather than sit and read with them. How much [technology] is really better?”
Internet businesses bring the world to our fingertips. With a fast-paced society, we rarely have time to cram any extra errands in an already over packed day. Purchasing items through the Internet can make life so much easier – why go to a store if you don’t have to?
“I do all my Christmas shopping online," Shellie said. "It is just easier and saves time. You’d be crazy to still shop the old way."
I am sure we all have pondered this thought and some even would say exactly that phrase. Yes, it is easier to just order through a catalog or online but small businesses are slowly coming to demise. How could a mom-and-pop-run store compete with the service, speed or supplies of a large international Internet company? Too many businesses are falling to the economy and closing their doors thanks to advancements in Internet technology.
“We use to own a flower shop in the Northeast, but we had to close our doors because business was so bad," said a former small businesses owner. "Now that you can buy flowers online and have them shipped out with a click of the mouse, no one bothers to take the time and put thought into actually coming and getting flowers.”
We can be sure to see more advancement in technology and computer devices in the years to come, but it is our children’s lives that will be affected the most. We can only hope that our children will be able to survive without modern conveniences of today’s world in the event they are ever without them.
In short, put the cell phone away, put the Wii down and go out side and play. Be a kid for as long as you can. Even as an adult, remember the time when you didn’t need your phone to survive? Spend some quality family time, or a day with friends just being together or having a personal conversation. Can you actually speak with someone rather than email or texting? Try just a day without a cell phone, computer or video game and see what happens. Can you still survive and be content?
A Woman’s View is a column about women’s issues written by Donna Ward. The column appears every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.