Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a generation lost inside of technology advancement

Not too long ago in our history families lived together. If not together in the same house, they most often lived close by one another. They relied on each other to survive and to thrive as a unit. Children knew their grandparents as more than someone they saw a few times a year {or once every few years}. They knew to respect their elders. They understood that with age comes wisdom and with that wisdom should come respect. With age comes more responsibility until a certain age and then age meant enjoying time with family.

I am always aware of my surroundings. I notice who is near me, behind me, in front of me, etc. If i notice an elderly person looking at an item that is on the top shelf of the store, i will go up to them and ask them if they need help getting an item down. Most of the time they are gracious and will make a joke about not being as young as they use to be. I always hold the door open for someone who is older than me {younger than me too}. Ok, i pretty much hold the door for anyone i see walking in behind me.

Whenever i help an elderly person my kid will ask me, "do you know that person?" to which i will say, "nope." and then she will respond, "oh. then why did you help them?" and i will explain to her that it is polite to help those who are elderly.

We have engrained in our children "Stranger Danger!" and they have taken it to the extreme. There is a valuable lesson in explaining to them to not talk to or trust strangers, but it also means they will never communicate with pretty much anyone they do not know. They will never help anyone, or take a chance to be overly nice to people they do not know. They are, for lack of a better word, afraid.

On a whole, most children of this generation have minor relationships with their grandparents. There are a few lucky ones who will spend time making lasting memories with their grandparents on a simpler level doing things that mean more than just seeing them for a few minutes at a time during the holidays. Unfortunately most children will come to know their grandparents through the use of technology. And admittedly i am glad for the technologies that we have now, but i think that it does harm family relationships...

People do not get together like they use to because they see every second of someone's life on Facebook and/or Twitter. If you know every detail of your families life, what is the point in getting together with them to "catch up" all the time? When you do get together it isn't very exciting to share news, because they already know the news. And yes, there are pros and cons to letting people keep up with you online. They are able to be more in your life then perhaps they were before. Families are busy and the use of online communications is a big help for making sure everyone knows everything at the same time. My main issue is the grandparents keeping up with the grandkids with the use of FB. It just seems un-natural to me on certain levels.

Kids should communicate with their grandparents, this is true, but the way they communicate has changed to a way that i do not agree with. I appreciate that grandparents are trying to keep up with the younger generation, but i do not recall my grandparents calling me up on the phone to "chat" when i was growing up. On a birthday or holiday we might have passed the phone around for a few seconds at a time to say hello to the ones that lived out of state... but on a whole we communicated during visits. We would sit down and have a long talk to catch up. It was laid back, it was fun and it was memorable. Now that the grandparents know every detail of the grandkids lives from online social communities.... what's to talk about come visit time?

nothing. there is nothing left to really talk about. which makes the visits less interesting for the kids, less memorable, and they feel less of a close relationship with their grandparents.

This is one of the main reasons i gave up Facebook. Everyone knew my entire life, my daily life, my minute-by-minute life, and all the news i had to share. There was no joy in telling people things anymore. And it turned visits with people into kind of boring trips of just sitting around. The same goes for photos. i use to print out my photos and take albums and sit and talk about what things were in my albums. Now people just go online and see everyones photos and it just isn't the same.

times are changing, and although i enjoy these changes for myself, i think it is changing the dynamics of the family... and not at all for the better. The generation of our children being born today - the last 15 years are being lost in the online world. And the generation of their grandparents are being lost because of a lack of real, and lasting communications with their children and grandchildren.

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