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« A New Cycling Hazard | Main | 10 useful tips for car drivers »

Every generation has its ruination

In my teens and early twenties I was told, Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll would be the ruin of us all. Looking at the state of the world today, maybe it was true.

A female friend and successful business woman, recently hired her teenage niece as a part time receptionist.

She said she was concerned for her niece as she was terribly shy and lacked social skills. She felt this would be a huge handicap when it was time for her to go 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 one evening that she had not spoken to anyone all day, but had communicated entirely by text.

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 girl. 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 texting each other across the table. 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, humans 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. 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 “Fight or Flight." 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 angry 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 is this a good thing? Anger and rudeness leaves no one feeling good, neither the one being rude nor the recipient. 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.

Every generation has its ruination and there is always an older generation like me, observing this and pointing out where this new generation is going wrong. No one listens, (I certainly didn’t.) history repeats itself and every time it does, the price goes up.


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Reader Comments (5)

One restaurant that we went to in Parker, Colorado has big sign in the window "WE have NO internet so try talking to each other"

March 25, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Hi Dave,
I was at lunch with two friends a couple years ago. I so happens a local bowling alley restaurant had great food at reasonable prices. The place was filled with people so we sat outside near "the lanes." We ordered lunch and while waiting 4 young people ( high school / college) age ( two girls and two guys) sat next to us. At first "they" were having a conversation, but in five minutes they started texting and not a word was spoken after. My friends also noticed this too and later we discussed why didn't the young people just talk to each other? This is how "young people" communicate today. You have probably seen some riding bikes while using the phone or texting. I see it every day !!!!! It's too bad as these folks will never get a great job it they can't even hold a conversation with others let alone for a job interview.

March 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Not good. I particularly notice a problem in young women who lack simple social skills, not even capable of saying hello when they are introduced to adults. Really a terrible characteristic - how will they teach their children to communicate and to broaden their views?

March 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Another college professor here. I've noticed the inability of so many of my students the last few years to even make eye contact. Walking across campus, when I meet the eye of a passing student, I'll say "good morning" or "hello" and rarely get a thing back. Most, when eye contact is made, quickly break it off. I was starting to think it was me, or my age, but younger colleagues and more evolved students assure me it happens to them, too.
When I enter a classroom to begin a class, every student is on their device, communicating with someone outside the room, rather than reaching out to peers all around them and making friends or conversation. Many students in my classes don't even know the names of one another, even when they've taken multiple classes together.
My classes require me, more than ever, to spur conversation rather than letting it take place of its own accord. Maybe 15-20% of my students have good social skills, and I tell them they have no idea how that will benefit them in the working world.

March 27, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterED

The price goes up??? When I arrived in the USA in 1957 $100 a week was good wages!!! My son and daughter now make more in a week that I did in a year. We have lived in our house 30 years now. We couLd not AFFORD TO BUY OUR OWN HOME NOW. My 9 year old Grandson, wears clothes that I could not afford to buy.now PROGRESS???

March 27, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

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