This isn't a metaphorical or rhetorical question, I honestly want to know - what world do you live in? Read this post, think about it, and if you feel like sharing mention me on Twitter. (And no, the irony is not lost on me - you'll get it after reading).
This is a post I've been contemplating for a while now (it was one of those posts I told myself I would write once I got a blog again), and I've finally sat down and thought about it. Read on for my musings on entertainment, socializing, the average teenager, and where I think technology is heading.
The situation as I see it
When I was in middle school, the iPhone was just becoming a "thing", smartphones were a mark of the wealthy, and the social network of choice was 'My Space'. Ah, the good ol' days. Now, during that time I wasn't particularly paying attention to such things, but looking back, I sure notice the differences. Compare that to where we are today, (a little more than 7 years later). Kids and teenagers alike are absorbed with the amount of information online (this is good!), but mostly it's social networks (this is bad!). I can honestly say that the average kid has at least a smart phone and probably a tablit as well and at least knows about Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, snapchat, kick, etc. This hypothetical kid (let's say he / she is... About 8years old, though, sadly, I certainly know of kids much younger in the same situation), is most likely bugging the shit out of their parental unit(s) because "My friends at school all have a Facebook and Twitter, and I want one!" That is, if they don't have one already. By the way, I'm actually not overdramatizing this, I've scene similar situations more times than I'd like to think about while at friend's or family gatherings for birthdays, Christmas, etc.
Let me give you another example: While at lunch one day, I'm sitting at an outside table of a local pizza place. It's a normal sunny day, it's a bit chilly but nothing to stay indoors over, and over all it's a good day to be out and about. I'm sitting with my family, we're talking as we wait for our food to be broughtout, - just a typical afternoon. After our food arrives, I look to my right and (though I don't have nearly as much vision durring the daytime as I do when it's darker), I see a family of 4 sitting down, waiting just like we were. There's one difference, however. For a second I think I'm seeing it wrong, but a question to my younger brother proves me right - the group of people (I'm assuming that they're related, I could be wrong), is sitting there, all engrossed in their phones or tablets. This isn't some eerily synchronized quick glance down to check the time either - as their food arives, one puts headphones in and turns on music while eating, one puts his phone away (wow! He's a social one... Or at least not a rude one), and the other 2 set their respective devices next to their plates and start to eat, occasionally glancing at them to confirm they haven't been stolen by some device-stealing, internet-conversation interrupting menace to society.
At this point, most readers will probably sit back, scratch their heads and ask themselves, "What's his point? What does this mild family of 4 have to do with anything?" (yes, I'm generalizing, if your not part of the group, then lucky you). This is when I link to articles detailing how family time and socializing and crap like that is important, but I'm not going to because... Well... I don't feel like it - look it up if you don't believe me.
So the picture is starting to emerge: a good majority of people now do a lot of communication online. It's not just communication however, it's entertainment (I'm looking at you, Netflix and your limited bandwidth sucking, romantic "netflix en chill" colloquialising self), shopping, working (including myself). Overall, this isn't a bad thing (wait for it...), in moderation. In my humble opinion, when a family would rather sit at a table and get online to look at pictures of kitties (aww... But they're so CUUUUTE!) or watch something on Youtube rather than talk to the people they are sitting next to, that is when... "Houston, we have a problem..."
Depending on how you look at it, this is either "Something great and revolutionary!" or "Something we should really take a step back and look at". With the release of the Apple watch, which really made the public sit up and notice devices other than the next iPhone or galaxy, the web is now living on the wrist for some people, and with Apple's Tim Cook saying Virtual reality isn't a niche and has "some interesting applications", I bet we'll be seeing 'iGlasses' here in a few years. Heh heh, seeing... iGlasses... :p We're also hooking our homes, security cameras, thermastats, and other props of daily life up to the internet. And while this is really handy, it introduces a lot of security risks. For example, did you know most home webcams (yes, cameras that capture you in your own home) have such bad security that you can find pictures of sleeping kids online? If that doesn't freak you out, then there's nothing I or anyone else can do to make you think about how much we use and rely on the web - as well as how it's changing us, and our culture.
Seriously though, this has really got me wondering. Where are we headed, as a race? We still fight wars over shit we pull outa the ground (think crude oil), bicker over land and who has the right to it (really? The... Right?) to it and who's god it belongs to (think Israel in the middle east), and a good portion of our kids don't even look each other in the eye anymore when setting up a date or having an argument - it's boiled down to little flirty or angry Japanese emoticons.
So... Your point?
Well, slightly impatient reader, to make you think about all this. Look around the next time your at a restaurant and see how many people are ignoring their families for the latest Youtube video or Facebook message. Imagine that the same is happening across America (and probably other countries, though I don't feel I know enough to make an accurate statement) - because it is.
I'm not saying this applies to everyone, but if it does apply to you... , think about all of this the next time you post a selfy or are sitting with your family / friends, on your phone, in the world of the digital.