Lately we have seen a backlash against the use of the cell phone for every function in life, with Infinity ads about family togetherness at meal times. The expression on the teen age girl’s face is extraordinary when her mom pauses all internet devices.
We have a cell phone for driving, where the driver follows the little arrow or responds to the voice directions from a virtual female.
We have innumerable social applications that are taking the place of real time face to face interactions.
Parents are duly worried, as their offspring show no aptitude for meeting challenges in logic or even being aware of where they are physically located on the planet.
It was not always like this.
Long ago within my memory, which my grandkids would probably consider the Jurassic era, we had no cell phones of any kind, no television, no internet, and no surveillance of street corners or hallways.
How could anybody operate or even be happy under those conditions I hear my grandson ask.
Simple, we did not know any better.
What we had were cars manufactured in 1930, gasoline at 25 cents a gallon, and books.
Newspapers were big, and magazines fat with mouthwatering ads.
I was ten years old before we had a rotary phone installed. Our number was 4264, or something simple.
We got taught how to read a road map in the third grade, how to use a compass, and knew all the seasons and dates of the equinoxes.
We studied a little printed booklet to learn the rules of the road, so knew what all the signs meant.
With the map reading skills, we journeyed for thousands of miles across the country with no roadside help or cell towers to worry about. We also never drove into rivers, blindly following the directions of a virtual personality which was often wrong.
Later, I even navigated cross country flying, with no cell phone, or high tech help other than a magnetic compass and freeway system.
On a family trip to Europe in 1970, all we had to use as to navigational aids was knowledge of English and German, and a small map of Yugoslavia checked out from the Fremont library.
We bought a new Volvo station wagon in Sweden, and the local bank in California arranged the sale via their communications system.
I have no idea if they used a telegraph, teletype of trans- Atlantic telephone, but it was ready when we arrived, and we put a couple of thousand miles on it before shipping it home via slow boat as a used car.
From 1975 to 1989 I drove that Volvo up and down the west coast, with no cell phone, car insurance, computer, or even maps, as I knew the freeway system pretty well from years of driving around the Bay area.
To this day, I am not prone to use any help in getting to know an area, preferring to just memorize bus system maps, read atlases, consult print maps of states to find a location, and in general ignore the computer versions of reality.
There is hope for the future when I hear my granddaughter say that she is not going to allow her son to watch television or use a personal device to play games.
Social scientists are finding that young people are being disconnected from their peer group when they spend too much time looking p messages on their phones. Children are losing the sense of being able to discern between real life and virtual life, and measures are finally being taken in the education system to address this problem.