Technological Tyranny

8 Jul

Letterbalm Burning CellphoneDear LetterBalm: I’ll admit I’ve let things get out of hand. My kids are such cellphone and electronic device addicts, they can’t stop. They text, game and talk nonstop – at meals, visiting relatives, in the car, in front of TV, younameit. What can I say or do to bring them back from the edge?

–Lock the Phones!

This is just one LetterBalm about technology; Ms. L.B. expects to handle many more. The full ramifications of all our technological advances on human society are still unknown. Psychologists and behaviorists believe that flexibility is an advantage – it’s so much easier to schedule time and not be moored to one location. But the ease of connection also means that people are fragmented and doing many things at once. They are “skating over” true communication in favor of lots of stimuli. One expert claims that it will be hard for people to enjoy quiet and solitude. Can you backpedal a bit with your brood and put some modest operating rules into effect? Suggestions:

  • No cellphones, iPads or other tech equipment brought to the dinner table, effective immediately. Phones are to be on vibrate so there are no distractions. Same rules apply to guests.
  • No cells and e-gadgets for the duration of family gatherings with the relatives. Mom holds the devices. You can resume using them on the way home in the car. (C’mon. Do you really want to disallow it in the car? You’ll have an unruly bunch of whiners.)
  • Bad grades, disciplinary infractions and other nastiness will result in no upgrades of equipment and no new paid apps/games charged to you.
  • The same goes for ignoring chores and concentrating on the device when being spoken to. Yes, you’re bribing them with possessions and e-status, but you’re starting late in the game of setting boundaries.
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