I'd like to thank Liz for quoting the syllabus as to the actual content expected for these blogs. I went tangential on the last post, and should reign it in to the current course content.
Many of you have posted, stating your 'shock and awe' as to the use and possible abuse of technology by the generation next (or the Millenials as I recently heard them described). I too was disgusted by the seemingly apathetic parenting that allowed countless hours of 'screen time' and almost constant digital communication the subjects engaged in, while trying to multitask in a way that makes Superman look like Franklin the Turtle. I too am ready with the Luddite mobs to banish cell phones from classes and get children playing street hockey, building snow forts, and (Heaven forbid) walk to school again. Yet, I want to play the devil's advocate and look at this societal issue in another way, to see if maybe it isn't just the Millenials that have a problem.
Growing up I loved video games. I still love video games. In fact, I sometimes catch myself at 3am still playing a game I may have began five hours before. Am I an addict... yes. In fact studies have shown that the endorphine kick we get from gaming is similar to using heroine or extasy. There is a picture of my brother and I playing games on a Commodore 64 Vic 20 when I was still in one-piece pajamas. So needless to say, video gaming and a digital lifestyle has been a major part of who I am as a person. So can I blame my parents for my digital lifestyle? They always imposed healthy limits to my computer time, and encouraged me to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Looking back even further, their vice was the budding television culture. My father's family got their first T.V. when he was in his teens, and so could we say they were addicts because they watched much more T.V. than the generation before them? To take it even further, our grandparents were radio addicts, absorbing hours of radio dramas that changed the fact of entertainment.
That may have seemed like a senseless ramble, but what I am striking at is the fact that we look with disgust on a youth culture that eats and breathes a digital life, and yet if we look back through time, every generation looked at its youth as if they had lost the plot. We may not understand how youth can multitask, and text, and tweet, and blog, and surf, and watch, and play; but our parents probably didn't understand why making a pixelated Italian plumber in a red suit jump on mushrooms and slide down pipes was entertaining.
I worry about the youth of today. I worry about their health, their sedentary lifestyle, their overindulgence in the digital world, and their completely distracted and over-stimulated environment. However, I think we need to take a hard look at ourselves as a generation, and see if maybe we had some part in it, and if so, how we can help to make change.
Too Much Television