Valuing the Person

I’ve grown up in a time when my parent’s generation was well documented due to sweeping social changes followed by periods of economic growth.  Books, movies, anything you can think of has been written about the late 60’s through the end of the 80’s.  Studying the past so we don’t repeat it?  I’m more concerned with the next generation, the connected to technology by not to each other group.

Shoot me a text when you’re ready!

Can you email me your idea?

Oh, there’s an app for that.  Why would I do that myself?

Being 43 isn’t old by any stretch, yet I think my view might just be old fashioned.  I like talking to people about plans, or work, or some other thing.  Yes, text messages have their place.  But not as the only form of communication between people.  People coming up with grand new medical ailments from people hunched over their phone walking, bumping into people and barely uttering an “Excuse me” while they continue talking about the Instagram photo they just uploaded of their lunch.

I know my mother likes to keep in touch with people via Facebook.  Sometimes I wonder if she is more of a stalker.  Her generation, and my mother in particular, founded the basis for many of these things.  But the outright addiction my nephew has to his iPod only means that there will come a time when the 12 year old version of him [still some time away!] will be addicted to his phone.  For Christmas I set up a Google Voice account for him so he could make limited phone calls to people, and only when attached to the home wi-fi.  Add in Netflix, Disney to Go, several other things on his iPad, Kindle Fire, various other people’s devices they allow him to use and he is surrounded by too much technology.

My feelings are well known about receiving bad news via text.  DON’T DO IT, SHOWS A LACK OF RESPECT!  We are no longer growing together as a community the ways these tools were envisioned.  The economist in me would want to beat into your heads about how Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, the list continues only care about selling your data as a income generator.  It’s why I only post three times a year on Facebook, can’t help with the Google thing; an android based phone is collecting data even when it says it isn’t/

Don’t get me wrong, when my neighbor’s kid sends me a text with some photo attached I love it.  But that happens a few times a year and only when he wants to make me laugh at him.  The little girl on the other side walks over and talks.  It may not be but for a few minutes, but she talks.  Hopefully we are getting back to that on some level.  But I also think it has to do with her parents, they want her to be fearless and that means sometimes talking to the weird guy next door.  [although lately I get cards since I’m not actually there.  Still cards!  When did we stop doing that?]

Maybe it has to do with all the therapy I do for various things lately, but I value the conversations.  My friends growing up didn’t have cell phones growing up, we talked in the car.  We talked in the mall, movies, just about anywhere.  And sometimes to the point of being thrown out of a place.  Watching people stare at their phones while at dinner, why go?  You can ignore each other at home for cheaper!

Every single person on the planet has something to offer.  It might not be world altering, and it might just be nonsense to some; but without hearing people we lose so much.  You can’t text emotion, those silly little icons waving or crying don’t cut it.  You have the phone in your hand, why not just dial it?

As I was getting at, we will never learn anything about each other or ourselves the more we hide behind a keyboard.  Believe me, I’ll got something going on right now that is begging to be let out.  And I know I have to wait until I can see the person face to face.  It wouldn’t be fair any other way.  Again, valuing the person and their emotions more than just sending out a group update.

So, my worries about the next generation being cyborgs with cellular implants may one day come true.  I just wish they all put them down for a little while and had a conversation.  Might even bring some form of proper grammar back?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Generation XYZ.”

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