Not to sound like a grumpy old fart or anything, but I’ve been wondering this morning how you’re supposed to tell if a young person actually likes something. They never seem invested in what’s going on around them.
A good example is watching a movie with family. As soon as you start the movie they all scramble to their cell phones to check in before they have to start watching the movie. Which is redundant, because if you look around the room at pivotal moments in the movie, such as when a mob kingpin is revealing his reason for kidnapping the hero’s entire family, you’ll most often find the young people looking down at their cell phones, or talking quietly to one another like they’re at a bistro and unaware of anything that’s going on around them. Throughout the movie they’re checking in on their social networks.
At the end of the movie after an hour and a half or two hours of them barely looking at the screen, these same young people will look at you and say “that’s was a pretty good movie”.
I always want to ask them, “How would you know?”
This is not an indictment of all young people. I’m not complaining about their short attention spans or their divided attention. It is what it is. Okay, so maybe I am complaining a little. But for the most part what I can’t fathom is why they cheapen each experience by investing so little in it. If you sit down to watch a movie, why not just watch the damned movie? If you go to a Rock concert, why not spend less time trying to document on Facebook and Twitter that you’re at a Rock concert and simply enjoy the moment in being there?
However much we might suspect otherwise, the world will still be there after the movie or the concert is over. Your friends will survive being out of touch with you for the hour and a half or two hours you’re watching a movie. More importantly, if you actually turn off your cell phone during that time, you might show the people you’re there with that you value the time you’re spending with them.
Every generation changes, I suppose. I often ask myself if I’m just becoming an old codger who’s shaking my proverbial cane at the young whippersnappers. But when I see three supposed friends sitting around a table at Starbucks, each merrily texting on their cell phones and hardly glancing at one another, I somehow have the creeping feeling that they’re missing out on some crucial component of the human experience. More than anything, I wonder what it will mean for future generations when they’ve grown up texting their mothers from their bedrooms to ask what’s for dinner and brushing by people who’ve opened doors for them without noticing them, much less thanking them for the courtesy, because they’re staring down at their cell phones.
If this is the future of Mankind, I think we’re in trouble.