I remember as a child waiting impatiently at best for school to be over and summer vacation to begin. Remember, this was before cell phones, social media, Netflix, and for me even cable. What summer meant for me was exploration, bike riding, walks, running contests with the neighbors, listening to my boom box plugged into an extension cord while I sat on the porch, and time spent with friends.
I had no mind numbing social accounts to tend to, no ridiculous attraction to the annoying popularity contests that are broadcast works wide, the fake news and spam of political and personal agendas, no judgment, just… fun.
It was a time I long to return to. A simple time with real friends, real activities, real enjoyment of life, and the exploration of the growing world around me. The isolation encouraged and supported by the social norms of today simply did not exist.
When we were with friends we talked about ideas, hopes, and dreams of our future without fear of public humiliation. We were more honest and less influenced be the stress of the worldwide web. No fears of an old creepy man two continents away creating stress, embarrassment, and fear in every thought or feeling we share with friends. No reason to dwell on things in the past except the occasional ribbing by the hands of classmates. No permanent record of every mistake ever made.
The reality of my childhood consisted of daily and weekly hang out’s with my friends, renting VHS movies, eating popcorn, pigging out on junk food, having sleepovers, and enjoying nights full of giggling and smiles. I can’t imagine life being simpler, less stressful, less intimidating and more enjoyable. It was fantastic.
I feel awful that not only the kids today but what seems to be the majority of society as a whole no longer enjoy these freedoms we took for granted. I stress freedoms. A time of global search engines soon would take over the world, but when I was a kid I was enjoying the 80’s in a much simpler way.
Today families and friends do not talk, instead we look at updates on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on. We have lost personal engagement and connections. There lacks closeness in our relationships as cell phones, iPods, kindles, and more replace phone calls and face to face interactions.
Even when we are present we are not present. Our minds are elsewhere our attention is lacking. We are focused on an image portrayed in the public forum too afraid to be ourselves for fear of judgment or ridicule.
Please don’t think I’m pointing fingers I’m certainly not for I am just as guilty as the next getting wrapped up in the pretend world of social media.
I find myself on more occassions than I would like to admit with my face buried in my phone or at a computer mindlessly taking it all in. It’s like a drug, once you start its very difficult to stop. I may intend to spend an hour max on the wonderful worldwide web that turns into an all day mind numbing adventure.
I am not the first to approach this subject in such a sad manner and with regret. It is a topic of discussion that needs to be explored, but how do you reclose a can of opened worms? I will be the first to admit I find the internet useful and an excellent resource in learning about the world around us. I also have to agree that when the internet and social media began they began with only good intentions. Things have grown way out of control since those days.
I don’t claim to have a solution to all the issues that come with lack of social interaction replaced by not so social social media accounts. I only see that something has to change. We are growing colder as a society, more insecure, fearful of judgement, exposed to the world with our hearts on our sleeves. It’s truly a terrifying time. I am, like many others, completely addicted to my time online but in those moments after the initial anxiety of not having some electronic in front of me to stay on top of every social account I have, I’m more at peace, calmer, more relaxed, and truly happier. I long for those times even when I’m fully engaged in the addiction if social media.