Technology's Impact on Families: Depends Who You Ask!

iPhone 4 Bumper + Universal Dock w/ DIY Adapter

According to my mother (my teenagers’ grandmother) you would think that society and civilization are quickly burning up with raging orange and red flames of fire because of two second text messages. That said, it is a new generation and technology obviously has changed interaction within families and in the general public.

In my generation we spent all our free time on the phone. I remember walking back and forth from the kitchen to the living room with the long, dirty, coiled, yellow stretchy phone cord to talk to my friends from school who I had just seen hours before. This was way before call-waiting too.

Then there was e-mail and even us parents could pretty much keep up with that as well as the older generation. But now? My children text obsessively on their multi-faceted phones and we have to force them to turn them off while we are eating (which sometimes they do and sometimes they pretend to do.) On a weekend away with the entire family our mother could not believe that the first thing her four grandchildren did was check their phones and Facebook. She was disgusted and distraught and my sister and I (and husbands) were used to it. Our mother took it as a personal affront.

Things change, people change, as parents we get used to things; we have no choice but it is helpful to set limits. The older generation think we have all lost our collective parental minds. In defense of my children they can keep up a great conversation at any time, they do well in school and we have adjusted. That’s what parenting is all about, you need to change with your children and with the times and set some boundaries. Is it easy? Not always. Will it make your children unable to have a reasonable conversation over a family dinner? No. Honestly, if I could figure out how to use one of those fancy phones I would own one myself. I have a simple, made for dummies phone and if I am lucky, I can actually call someone or pick up and scream “hello?” and hear a response. I consider that, for me, a success.

Powered by Plinky

Advertisements

Talking Versus Texting: My Preference

Cheers to you from Starbucks - Coffee shops 20...

Image by Earl - What I Saw 2.0 via Flickr

“Just an old-time girl….”

 

I’m old-fashioned; I like to talk to people in person. GASP! I know that is such a novel concept. My teenagers do not talk on the phone, they text on their own phones with dexterity and speed that only experienced surgeons have. I need to see someone’s expression, the look in their eyes, their body language to accurately assess something. Even writing online is perplexing since you miss the nuances, the emotions, the intonation.
Give me an a cup of Starbucks coffee and a friend across the table and that is how I communicate best. I need to feel, first hand, what my instinct is telling me. I need to listen but to listen effectively, I also need to see from my heart.

Powered by Plinky

9 And A Half Minutes, Episode 1

"one second" exhibition

Image by sugu via Flickr

Tick Tock, Tick Tock. Welcome to another edition of 9 and a half minutes. A place where I mention the things that annoy me. First up: SPAM. If you are going to send out this trash can’t you make the effort to spell “dear” CORRECTLY? It’s always misspelled and it’s in all  lower case letters :”hello deaer.” This bugs me. Not to mention that I get hundreds of junk mail every day and yes, I do, have a SPAM filter.  I am OCD about the amount the junk mail that I get so I need to check it and delete it frequently. It’s supposed to automatically delete in one month but that never happens. Every day I get the following suggestions: “buy drugs, enlargge your penis, veagra for womens, congradulations deaer, autimatic lottery winner”….just stop sending us this junk. Here’s my suggestion: ” go away, get losted, please, hun.”

Another thing that’s irritating is the call you get on a Sunday night from your favorite hairdresser, the one you found after years and years of searching. The one you trust implicitly. You finally find her and sure enough, one day you get “the call.” You know what it’s about, the minute you get the message “It’s Linda, from Tresses” on the phone. Deep in our hearts, women everywhere  know that the only reason your hairdresser is calling you at home at night is because she has fled her old job, stolen your chart and is working somewhere else. My dilemna: I love the way she does my hair but she has joined a salon that I fervently despise. It’s not the end of the world and yes, a mere annoyance but these things add up.

It has been a horrific couple of years and many of us are suffering the consequences of a bad economy. The idea of a vacation used to give me something to dream about, to look forward to. Key word: USED TO, past tense.  Even though it may not be financially feasible, it was something to dream and fantasize about.  Thinking about flying someplace warm in the middle of winter or early spring used to make me so happy, an inside secret I tucked away in my heart. Now? Thinking about flying makes me anxious, another mood elevator crashes to the ground (no pun intended.) With the media screaming about terror alerts and bomb threats, who wants to fly now?  Flying used to be fun, an exciting adventure. Now, you wait in very long lines, several times over, experience huge delays, body checks, shoe checks and most importantly, basic primal fear, anxiety and paranoia. I’d have to think it over for a long time before I would fly again and then, I would literally have to be sedated. Where’s the joy in that?

What is there to look forward to now? The economy stinks, the unemployment rate is ridiculously high and everyone seems to have less money or no money at all (with the exception of perhaps the super-rich which is even more annoying.)  The world, as we know it now, is a scary place. I know things take time but even I am losing patience. The country needs some good news, some great news. We need something, anything to feel good about our lives; I don’t care what it is. Give us a glimmer of hope, a tidbit, a really solid fantasy.

It’s the first week in November and we had sleet, snow and a power outage for six hours the other day. At this point, I’d even welcome some global warming: as in the warming up the country variety. If you hadn’t guessed it before the other thing I despise with a passion is winter. I would love to sleep straight through to spring. It’s cold and dark, scary and we all get sick; especially for those of us with chronic illnesses and pain. I know life is not perfect, believe me, I know. I also know you’re not supposed to “sweat the small stuff.” But, when the BIG stuff is all bad, the little stuff just adds an additional amount of worry and annoyance;  it makes us cranky. Very cranky. I’m not Andy Rooney, I’m just little ol’ me but I’m seriously pissed off. Join me next week for another edition.

Call Me One More Time, If You Dare

Voters Entering Election Booth

Image by Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr

Dear Pollsters,

I have had it with all your automatic, robotic political phone calls that I’ve been getting 4 or 5  times a day, if not more. Call me one more time and I will NOT vote. I know this isn’t a rational thought process but you should know these incessant phone calls are not only grating but disruptive.  I plan on voting so STOP calling me.  Can’t I just have a normal family dinner without my phone ringing again and again?

Isn’t there a point when even you think these phone calls are EXCESSIVE.  Do you want your family dinners interrupted by phone calls or the door bell ringing every five minutes? What if there were pollsters asking you about your favorite brand of diapers or the quality of your toilet paper?  Enough is enough. Don’t call me, don’t ring my bell. Leave me alone and let me have some peace and quiet, before I vote, and after.