Who are these walking dead with their heads down, their backs hunched, their mouths turned down, their thumbs frantically searching Snapchat from devices attached to their appendages?
Oh yeah, Generation Whatever..
Hey, one of them just dropped into a manhole to their certain death, or maybe they’re still walking through the sewer system not knowing about the biological hazard – but in full knowledge of their latest Facebook update or Candy Crush score.
If you Google “teen texting” one of the resulting images depicts eight teens walking, heads down, eyes glued to their smart phones, not engaged with the people around them nor taking in the scenery. They are fixated on the little screen they hold in their hands, that no-longer-futuristic device that instantly projects messages from friends and family. All kinds of data is streaming into their heads, capturing their attention, influencing their minds and emotions. Enter teenage Zombies!
Little do they know that these little drama queens could actually be negatively affecting their ability to be dramatic:
“I watch it every day. Students come out of classrooms and don’t talk to each other anymore,” Rupert Nacoste, professor of psychology, said. “They are looking down at a phone and literally will walk up the hall without looking at anybody.”
Emotional reactions can be evaluated scientifically by measuring levels of hormones associated with emotion–cortisol and oxytocin. According to HeathDay News of January 31, 2014, researchers found that participants’ key “emotion-linked hormones . . . responded in potentially beneficial ways” when they conversed about a stressful event rather than texting about it. The beneficial effect is likely related to hearing the voice of the person on the other end, instead of simply looking at a series of printed words. One scientist put it this way, “Today’s ubiquitous online social communication may not confer the same feel-good effects as plain old talking.”
The most basic fundamental thing that we do in life is interact with other people, so we want that to be authentic, don’t we?” Nacoste said. “If you don’t learn how to do that at the [college]age, you will be crippled in life.”
Crippled for life, eh?
I have an idea: How about parents give kids a few alternatives to walking around like a bunch of idiots playing Angry Birds and downloading “Selfies?” How about spending time with kids so they don’t make electronic devices and ones and zeros their heroes? Hey – that rhymed!
Dragging oneself around in a constant state of disorientation. Sounds like a Zombie to me!
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