I remember when I was a kid; Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll was going to be the ruin of us all. Looking at the state of the world today and the economy, maybe it was.
A female friend of my wife and I is a successful business woman; she recently introduced us to a teenage niece she had hired for the summer as a receptionist.
Later out of earshot of the young girl she said she was concerned for her niece as she was terribly shy and lacked social skills; this she felt would be a huge handicap when her education was finished and it was time for her to get out in the world and make a living.
She hoped by making her a receptionist the teen would be forced to interact with people. She added that her niece spent all day texting her friends; she had boasted to her aunt one evening that she had not spoken to anyone all day, but had communicated entirely by text and email.
In my view this is hardly something to boast about; it is extremely sad; it made me wonder how many other teens are there like this young lady. There is now a whole generation who have known nothing else but cell phones and the internet.
Another friend who was retiring as a University Professor was taken out to dinner by a group of his students; he said they were all texting each other across the table.
He said one would type something and across the table another would look down at his cell phone and smile, and type a reply that would get a brief verbal response or simply eye contact with a nod or a return smile.
Call me old fashioned (And you probably will.) but isn’t the whole purpose of a social gathering like a large group dinner one where everyone interacts with each other as a group? If someone has a joke or something interesting to say, then share it with everyone, not text it to one or two people, then giggle amongst yourselves.
I can see a real danger in this trend; people are social creatures we can’t live in isolation. These young people will have to form face to face relationships at some point in their lives; if nothing else in a job setting with their bosses and co-workers.
In a love relationship too; like all of life’s lessons we learn by failure. The only way to learn how to have a meaningful relationship is to get dumped many times until we figure out what we are doing wrong, and stop doing that.
“You have 5,000 friends on Facebook and you are bragging about it. Translation: You have no friends.”
Rudeness is rampant on the Internet; on Facebook and Internet Forums. I have often heard the quote that, “Rudeness is a weak person’s show of strength.” Rudeness is born out of anger and it is so easy to be rude under the cloak of anonymity that the Internet provides.
Fear and Anger are two human emotions that I believe are closely linked. Fear triggers a base emotion that translates to a “Fight or Flight” mode. In order to fight, our anger level raises; but there is also an underlying fear that if we get angry with someone we will alienate them socially.
This is why we come across certain passive/aggressive personalities in our day to day lives. They are pissed at us, but at the same time afraid to piss us off. We are all aware of the fake smile and the “Wet Fish” handshake; or the “Compliment” that leaves us wondering if it was really a compliment or an insult.
People can express rudeness and anger on the Internet without fear of reprisal, but this is not a good thing.
Anger and rudeness leaves no one feeling good; neither the one being rude or the recipient. A person waking up to rude response to something they posted the night before, is just as likely to take that anger with them on the drive into work, and it will probably manifest itself as road rage.
By getting in the habit of always being rude on the Internet one can miss a lot of opportunities to learn something. Case in point; people often come to my blog as a result of a search for some knowledge. They read one post and disagree with what I say, and shoot off some rude comment.
They don’t take the time to read my profile and find out who I am, or read other posts. If the rudeness is really bad, I simply delete it, so it doesn’t harm me. However, they are the losers; they have missed an opportunity to learn something.
There are few rules on the Internet; it is up to each individual to decide what is right or wrong. A simple rule for anyone to follow is:
Don’t say anything online that you would not say to the person face to face.
Young people should listen to old farts like me ‘cos history repeats itself, and every time it does the price goes up.