I ran across a story today that really made me think.
It also embarrassed me.
And it made me feel guilty.
Not to mention, it hit very close to home.
As in my living room, close.
Fifty-three Percent of Young People Would Trade Their Sense of Smell for Technology
TECHNOLOGY AS A FIFTH SENSE
While technology has often been referred to in jest as an appendage of today’s youth, over half (53%) of 16-22 year olds said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology. For this generation, technology is not an add-on. It is a tool that enables them to sense the world and make sense of the world.
So important is technology to today’s youth that over half (53%) would give up their sense of smell rather than lose access to it. To them, losing the ability to explore and communicate via technology would be like a blind man losing his stick.
“Young people utilize technology as a kind of super-sense which connects them to infinite knowledge, friends and entertainment opportunities,” said Simpson.
It is clear from the results that technology plays an important role in youngsters’ lives and without it they would feel isolated and uninformed.
Sounds pathetic, doesn’t it? A person giving up a vital sense in order to maintain a connection to the virtual world?
And yet, I’m pretty sure both of my boys would do it.
And I would be tempted, though ultimately would not give up my sense of smell. I could live without the Internet because I’ve LIVED without the Internet. I’d have withdrawals, but I’d survive.
But my boys? Would go nuts. Oh sure, they’d eventually adjust, but it would be hell on Earth for everyone around them until that happened.
I’ll never forget the time period (I think Dude was in 8th grade and Jazz was in 6th grade) where they suddenly stopped caring about school. They started blowing off their school work and their grades began dropping so fast it was as if someone had attached concrete shoes to their transcript and dropped it into the lake. This was unacceptable and we ended up taking everything away from them – computers, video games and even TV until they brought their grades up. Our rationale being, if we got rid of the distractions, then they would have more time to study.
They absolutely HATED us for weeks. (I think it took about two months before their grades came back up). And the tension was so high in our house it was like walking into a room full of insulation – it was hard to breathe and the air was so prickly it made your skin itch. We didn’t WANT to do it, but we really had no choice. They had to learn priorities and responsibility and do you know, to this day, they never allowed their grades to drop that low again and have both ended up being great students because we had the balls to open that door and step into the darkness that is kid fury.
So the mere THOUGHT of taking all of that away again makes me break out in hives. And even though I know they would reluctantly give up their technology over sacrificing an essential sense, (because I asked them and after much deliberation, they finally agreed that they would rather keep their sense of smell/taste [because it’s connected] over their techno-gadgets), I also know it would be really hard to live with them for a given period.
And let’s face it – it WOULD be hard. Not just for them, for anyone. We’ve all gotten used to our technology. We’ve gotten used to being able to contact anyone we want to contact with a bush of a button. We’ve gotten used to texting quick messages. We’ve gotten used to having this vast amount of information at our fingertips – all without leaving the comfort of our easy chairs. Technology is awesome. And our children have grown up with this technology – it’s all they know.
Whenever I get annoyed with the boys for choosing to spend time on their computers as opposed to reading, going outside or even interacting with us, I stop and remind myself that that’s what they like to do. I like to spend time on my computer and I would certainly resent the hell out of someone who tried to take that away from me.
Granted, it’s essential to teach kids that technology should be plan B – real life comes first. But more and more of our “real lives” are centered on technology. I know I’ve never had as much information about my family as I do now that we’re all on Facebook. We “talk” more now than we’ve had in years before Facebook.
And how many “friends” have we “met” or communities we’ve joined, because of technology? There is NO WAY I would ever have “met” these people otherwise.
Technology is not all bad. And as with anything in life, moderation is KEY. But let’s be honest, the lines are blurring with the introduction of each new gadget: technology IS increasingly becoming part of our real, every day lives.
And I for one, don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.
But I wouldn’t give up an essential ingredient in life to hold on to it.