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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Taking another break from the 30 Days list to discuss something my friend Johnny posted on Facebook this morning. This is a quick rant, so bear with me.

Two men have a Kickstarter for a new type of phone that is a smart phone (so not really) stripped down to the bare minimum. It’s a way for people to disconnect without feeling helpless should they need to get in touch with someone. It’s called The Light Phone. It makes sense in theory, but in practice not so much. I honestly feel like people shouldn’t need to force themselves to disconnect. Do we really live in a world where the only way to resist the urge to use our smart phones is to leave them at home? Do we no longer have any self-control? I’ll be the first to admit that there are times I can almost feel my phone calling to me from my bag. And I often have to consciously stop myself from pulling it out and checking it every few minutes (mostly when I’m bored). But this seems borderline absurd.

I, for one, don’t think someone should need to pay $100 to have yet another electronic device in order to stay disconnected. And I like to use my smart phone for things other than status updates. Not to mention this auxiliary device will just contribute to the proliferation of waste. Willpower, people! You have it somewhere deep down in there. Use it!

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I’m sure you enjoy the benefits of society’s technological advances: listening to music on your phone, texting your friends and family, surfing the web from anywhere, reading books without turning actual pages … I could go on. Technology permeates everything we do … including teen bullying. The official term is “Cyberbullying.” Teens now are using email, cell phones, and whatever other methods they can think up to bully and harass each other.  Here’s one official definition: “Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.” Is it just me, or does Cyberbullying seem like a cop-out for teens that don’t have the guts to look their victims in the eye?

What happened to the old-fashioned bullying methods of my youth: in person or over the phone? Oh, they still exist. Just listen to the news or read the paper. For example, how about this Massachusetts girl who killed herself as a result of being bullied?

Of course when I was growing up, bullying was a natural part of my middle and high school experience. I may not have had soda cans thrown at me, but I was definitely involved in many a female catfight. Though the abuse wasn’t physical, it left many scars. Yet here I am today, alive and kicking (and a little resentful).

Do the teens of today have such thin skin that a little harassment from their peers makes the rest of their lives not worth living? At the risk of sounding like my parents, I’m saying that my generation had it much harder. On top of the standard bullying, we actually had to go to the library and use the card catalog to do research! I didn’t even own a cell phone until I graduated from college. My parents tracked me with a pager. When it buzzed, I needed to find the nearest payphone and pop in a quarter.  We spent summer afternoons playing outside in the heat instead of sitting in the cool basement playing video games with fancy graphics. If we wanted music, we had to go to the record store and buy a tape or CD! If we wanted only one song instead of the entire album, we had to wait until it came on the radio and record it using our boom boxes!

Yes, our teenage years were rough. But it was all part of growing up; your teens were just a precursor to the suckage of post-college life. If you can’t handle being bullied by your peers, how will you ever make it in the real world?

Not that I condone teenage bullying, because being the victim isn’t fun. But where is this coming from? Why all the sudden bullying publicity? Take it from the movie Heathers; harassing others doesn’t get you more friends, suicide won’t get you anywhere but the cemetery, and people will believe anything. Wow, that reads like a country song.

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