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The street lights were coming on. I knew it was time to go inside. Reluctantly, I would hop on my bike and pedal like I was being chased by Bigfoot so I would get home before dark.
We were in history class, reading about transportation by ships, when Mrs Woodall wrote our assignment on the chalkboard. She wrote, 'a two page report due next week on any ship of your choice that we have been studying". Ugh. I knew what that meant. Luckily, we had encyclopedias at home and I wouldn't have to spend hours at the library.
My Christmas list included board games involving two or more people to play. We wrote letters to friends that moved away. I went to a friend's house to play and we stayed outside most of the time. We played ball, pretended, played hide and go seek. We interacted with each other face to face. We didn't click a button, press send, use abbreviated words, or stare at a screen all day. We were too busy living, exploring, skinning our knees, and putting calamine lotion on some strange rash we developed while building a fort between a couple of trees.
Technology has a very useful place in our lives, but I think we have given it too much control over our lives. Penmanship is not even a relevant topic today. Spelling has been replaced by technology. You misspell a word, it's either lettered red, or your device, either phone, tablet, or PC, just corrects that word for you. How convenient, but what did you learn from it? You didn't even have to enter the word in a search engine to locate its correct spelling.
I cannot seem to wrap my head around why human beings would create and continue to improve something that is, without question, replacing them. How difficult is it to speak to a person when calling a company rather than pressing a button on your phone that is directing a computer? How many companies do not charge you to pay your bill over the phone unless you need help from a representative and then you are charged a fee? So we are now being encouraged to have less personal contact with one another. I have an excellent example that proves this push to turn people into nothing more than technological extensions. Go to McDonald's and try to order at the counter if they have a kiosk for you to put your order in yourself. They will direct you to the kiosk and ask if you need help using it. You know, so next time you get a hankering for a Big Mac, you won't try to give your order to something with a pulse.
Passwords, usernames, cyber stalking, shopping for clothes, cars, groceries, pornography sites, downloads, social media, and sites that will look up a person's life for you. It's all here in this tiny little box. Just a click or two and you can discover the world. It's just pictures though. When you text her that you are falling for her, did she read your expression in that text? You always wanted to visit Hawaii? Go online and see everything there is to offer. Did you feel the breeze coming off the ocean? Did you order an indigenous dish and meet some native Hawaiians?
Everyday we can walk outside and feel the sun on our face or smell that metallic smell from a recent rain. We can hear the birds communicating, see the way the spider webs light up from dew when the sun shines on them, walk through a store and learn a few things about person based on the foods they purchase, the clothes they are picking out, and their worries from sitting in a coffee shop listening to their conversation with their friend across from them. What experiences we miss when we are on the sofa watching YouTube or reading emails. So much lost imagination exists when someone simply Googles the answer.
People need people. We need to hug. We need to feel that close embrace. We need to see expressions, smiles, the way someone else walks or uses their hands when talking. We need that human connection so we are reminded that we are not alone. Life is more than images on a screen. Human beings are worth more than any application, any fancy new phone, any software, or memory stick to add to our gadgets.
Information technology is just that. It should be used to aquire information that is useful and productive. Get up, put the phone, tablet, or keyboard down an reconnect with real people. Cyberspace is a nice place to visit, but don't live there.