Yesterday I hinted that many of my friends are very worried that the world of the Internet is making their children and grandchildren totally anti-social. They believe that the adults of tomorrow will be incapable of relationships, both personal and business, because they haven’t spent enough time learning interpersonal skills.
I have one girl friend who absolutely can’t stand sitting next to a family in a restaurant, where young children are watching a movie on an iPad or playing a video game on a smart phone. As a former elementary teacher, she honestly feels that parents should be engaging their children in dialogue during meals rather than using technology as a babysitter.
I have been very curious about this subject for a while because I am the mother of an adult child who spent the better portion of her life in front a computer screen. In recent years I have often heard my daughter say she doesn’t want to be anywhere near a computer when her work is done for the day. Too bad her work is never done.
In order to get a proper perspective on this, I decided to ask people under 40 how they feel about the their isolation. Here are some of the things they told me:
1-Most people piss me off. Their conversations are a waste of time. I prefer to talk online where I can instantaneously cut someone off.
2-The Internet has made me more social than ever before. I have friends all over the world. We talk about “things,” not “people.” We see each other a few times a year, and when we do we pick up where we left off online. We are all interested in the same things. I don’t have to hear about their kids, their money woes, or their sex lives. I spend way too much time with egomaniacs who only want to talk about themselves. None of them are really interested in what I do and how I do it.
3-I am a homebody. I have many hobbies. I go out with family and friends a few times a month. I love them but they are so boring.
4-I have never been happier since the advent of the Internet. I am busy all the time doing things that I like to do. My mind is being stimulated every waking hour. I used to sit around reading comic books and watching TV.
5-Before the Internet, I spent most of my time partying and getting drunk. Now I have to stay sober because I am an app developer. I have never felt better in my life. I even got married to a girl who I met online.
6-The only one who is worried about my interpersonal skills is my mother. She nags me all the time. She needs to learn interpersonal skills. Nag, nag, nag
7-My parents’ universe is so small. My universe is so big. I love them but they are clueless about the business world and personal relationships. Most people are like me, not them.
8-My father watches sports on TV all day. My mother yaks on the telephone. They are not exactly role models.
I have to admit that there are many times that I love sitting at home alone in front of my computer. Have I found the Fountain of Youth?