Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lights Out

Do you remember when we were in Kindergarten, our teacher, to gain our attention, would shut the lights out? Those of us who were shouting across the room suddenly became silent. We were made to put our heads down, in quiet contemplation of the rules we were breaking. It was a noticeable queue to all of us four and five year old that we had broken those rules and were given the time to reflect. Now, I don't know that all of us reflected. Timmy Noshoes at table five continued to pick his nose and eat it. You'll have that though.

When did we start to air our dirty laundry on public forums in sentence form for whomever interested to read? And when did we start to become so interested in peeking into the lives of others?

Once an act of shame and disgrace, infidelity is now a ratings booster for night time and prime time television. Shootings become daily headlines in local news. Our government is in dire straits trying to boost their own agendas when it comes to health care and give our newborn babies $500 in savings accounts (as if that's really going to boost our economy...$500 isn't enough for a down payment on anything today, let alone in 18 years from now).

People Tweet their latest demise and post their Face book status to peek interest in the numerous friends that they really don't have anyway. And then there's people like me who blog their opinions for anyone or no one to really read or respond to.

We can look at porn, technologically cheat on our loved ones, get addicted to video games, view what the government doesn't want you to see, look at what you may have missed while playing World of Warcraft, and read about pretty far fetched government conspiracy theories.

It's getting out of hand. I'm scared for my children to grow up in a world so technologically advanced. Where we Tweet our communications instead of picking up the phone calling someone. Where our dentists send out text messages as reminders for our next appointment and even our school districts give automated notices. I get spammed by local politicians running for office and I'm not even registered to vote in this state!! We send forwards of decade old jokes and pictures of massive dogs licking tiny newborn kittens to say, "Hey, friend. I'm thinking of you."

My son recently turned eleven. His list of birthday wishes included: a laptop, a cell phone, a Wii, a PSP, a DSi, and other Internet capable products. I held my ground. I put my foot down. Absolutely, positively noway. My kids aren't even allowed on the Internet!! It bothered me, immensely that his homework assignments, in sixth grade, require him to research on the Internet for class projects. It sent chills up my spine that my son has an email address within his public school system. Who said this was OK? I did not give permission. I was not asked if this was OK. In the day and age of sexual predators turning up everywhere we thought was once safe for our children to be, WHO authorized MY son to have an email account?? Because it wasn't me. And it wasn't my husband.

What happened to the library? Good ol' Encyclopedia Britannica? The Card Catalog? Study groups? I am a firm believer in learning how to do things efficiently the hard way before learning the short cuts. My children will know how to do those things. They will know how to wash dishes by hand before loading a dishwasher. They will know how to write things out longhand before clacking away at a laptop.

I think what we need is a good ol' fashioned "Lights Out." And, heaven forbid, we ever did have a world wide blackout, how many of you would be panicked without your technology?

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