Country Living Series

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What a happy (cough) close-knit (cough) family

An advertisement came through my email this morning from a company in Europe selling something called a "master charger."

According to the ad's script:
Charger for the whole family! Gone are the days of having a whole bunch of small chargers hanging from the plug sockets and extension leads. It is uneconomical, a waste of electricity and inconvenient. A stylish and affordable convenience for the home.
Okay, fine, whatever. But accompanying the ad was this photo of a (cough) happy close-knit family:


This -- this! -- is supposed to be an example of a happy close-knit family? Look at them! They're all staring at their stinkin' little screen like it holds the secret of life. They don't look at each other. They don't talk with each other, they don't laugh with each other. They're -- staring -- at -- screens. Zombies.

This photo encapsulates my continuing gripe about personal electronics. They alienate people, even supposedly happy and close-knit families.

Are modern personal electronics making things better? Are people learning to communicate more easily? Will this "master charger" improve family dynamics and make a home a happy, close-knit place?

I doubt it.

Okay, rant over.

17 comments:

  1. Amen. Mercy, don't get me started on gadget zombies.

    Last Sunday after worship we had usual families (25-30 people) pot luck dinner. I was looking around it suddenly hit me that while I normally take this scene for granted, it is a rare sight today. Not one person was futzing with a gadget. Yes, that includes the children. They are homeschooled and have excellent social skills.

    Montana Guy

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  2. Saw this yesterday. It is a sad comment on our digital world

    http://www.weaselzippers.us/297709-caption-this-48/

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  3. I can keep in touch instantly with my college daughter who goes to school far away, plus I can help my son who needs a lot of lifts to and from work. Why does being in touch with your family have to mean in-person contact?

    And also, what picture were you expecting to illustrate a multiple-phone charger? People not using their phones?

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    1. Krab, forgive this old coot but a red flag goes up when I hear parents boast of being ‘in touch instantly’ with their children, or being their personal chauffeurs. Why?

      I shake my head when I view today’s students (especially boys) as compared to those of my generation. From age 16 on all of us had jobs. We had our own transportation, albeit old clunkers but we learned how to keep them running. Only on rare occasions did we ever have reason to call our parents (or vice versa). All of us went on to college. If I had gotten a call at college (or high school) from my Mom or Dad my first thought would have been, ‘Who died?’

      We were mature, trustworthy, and independent-minded. We learned skills in self-defense against bullies, hunting, shooting, fishing, boating, planning, navigation, mechanics etc. Our parents trusted us and wanted us to develop such characteristics and skills.

      Today we have many college graduates living with their parents years after graduation. Oh I’ve heard the excuses. But honestly (with the notable exception of home-schoolers) I see mostly pampered, sheltered, dependent kids, not young adults. It is no wonder they are now living in fear of micro-aggressions, and demanding safe spaces. Granted there have been changes since I was a kid. The biggest change was parenting.

      Montana Guy

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  4. Everyone is obsessed with the zombie apocalypse. People have no idea that they're living it sucked into electronics while the world passes by. I'm not perfect. I've got a smart phone. But geesh I shut mine off and will not use it when out with friends/family. We use it for gps and to communicate quickly while husband is busy at work. It's crazy to Sr what's happened with the addiction off these things because that's what it is. Addiction.
    Learning in NY

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  5. Patrice, May I join you in your rant? My wife and I have felt exactly the same way you do since all these gadgets and devices began popping up all over the place! To "Krab" I would say no, there is nothing wrong with communicating with your family either by land line, cell phone or what have you. I believe Patrice means more severe situations than just keeping in touch with your relatives, for Heaven sake. The problem here goes FAR beyond just "communicating"! Everywhere you look, people are wandering along with their faces buried in their smart phones, tablets, cell phones, etc., etc., poking away and ignoring all that goes on around them. I've seen people step off curbs with their noses buried in some gadget and fall flat on their faces! Rear-end auto collisions are happening more than ever because of people being engrossed with their gadgets and not watching the road! Most states prohibit texting and even talking on cell phones and such because of the danger involved. My wife and I have cell phones, and we use them to communicate whenever we're apart, such as when I'm grocery shopping and I have to ask her a question. But to wander around with your face buried in some gadget, or worse talking so loud you're almost yelling into it, is just plain stupid. --Fred in AZ

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  6. "Modern" types won't even see the irony.

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  7. About a year ago my wife and I went out for dinner one night and while we were waiting for our order to come out another family of 5 came in and plopped down at a nearby table.

    Each member of the family proceeded to pull out smart phones and texting or doing whatever. None of them looked at each other or talked or said a dang word to each other for an hour! They didn't even acknowledge the waitress that brought their food, in fact they didn't even look up from the screen as she was putting the order down! I think one of them grunted a little like an ape or something, but I don't think it was actual words that came from his mouth.

    I was absolutely stunned by this scene. My family knows I have a strict law that all electronic devices are BANNED while we are together. Instead we talk.

    When I saw this "family" ignoring each other and instead buried in a conversation with people that weren't even there for an hour I thought it was so sad and a totally wasted opportunity to connect on a human level. I wondered why they even bothered to go out to dinner as in this case it did nothing but provide food and nothing else of value.

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    1. Great description of what we have all witnessed. Sad, very sad.
      Montana Guy

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  8. I have a cell phone Patrice. All it does is be my phone. I use it exclusively for my convenience, people actually get mad at me because I can't be reached 24/7. When the Imperial Federal Government makes cellular devices mandatory I will throw mine into the nearest EPA navigable waterway. I remember an old adage that went Wake Up America. We can update that as Glance Up America, you know, occasionally. I sure miss the old party lines...

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  9. My husband is a deacon at our church, and all the other deacons get mad when he is not INSTANTLY available by cell phone, text, or email...DURING THE WORK DAY. As in, he is "supposed" to answer private messages during work hours. Also, he works with his hands, not in a cubicle, which means he's not connected to a device all day.

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  10. All I have to say is AMEN to your post. My husband and I have basic little trac phones. Used only to call people. What has happened to our world? The Zombies are here. LOL

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  11. I don't have, have never had, a phone. (No TV, either.) And indeed, people do get irrationally angry -- apparently it's their 'right' to be able to contact me at will. I listen to people's conversations sometimes, to see what I'm missing. Nothing. The inanity of the lives people are leading frightens me. They know nothing, they do nothing, their grammar is appalling. At what point do such people become liabilities to a functioning society, and not compliant drones or compliantly marginalized? And then what happens?

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  12. I also only carry a small Tracphone. It works for myself and my wife. But what irks me the most is the texting. Especially while they are driving. But I have gotten even with a few that have been sitting at a stop light texting I just really lay on the horn, and boy do they jump.Hahahaha

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  13. It's funny you wrote this because just the other week I took our children into town for a breakfast treat and noticed being watched by an elderly couple in a nearby booth. After they finished their meal they came by and said how happy they were to see a mother actually talking with her children and not looking at a phone. I was warmed by the compliment but thought it was sad that I'm an exception in today's society. I guess it pays to be a Luddite.

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  14. When I was younger I had a very close friend who lived nearby. We talked everyday, whether through the phone, the computer, or face to face. She got a wonderful job opportunity and sadly moved a couple thousand miles away. Texting has been a godsend. We can talk instantly anytime without me having to drive a thousand miles to visit her in her new home. I don't really think much of people who scoff at texting. Basically equivalent to those crusty old coots who whined about personal music players back in the day (yes, I'm ancient enough to remember that). When you see "zombies" on the road, just think of being so engrossed in a conversation with your best friend that you forget to look up. I've done it more than once and I'm not nearly as ashamed as I probably should be.

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  15. When our boys were in karate last year the boys themselves noticed that we were the only parents that actually watched the kids practice. Now I have two kids in gymnastics and I have noticed that the majority of the parents have their noses buried in a screen. I am the only one who actually watches what is going on beyond the viewing windows. I, too, have noticed kids sitting "alone" at a table in a restaurant while their parents are absorbed in their devices. So sad.

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