I've been thinking a lot lately. It started out with a conversation Jason and I had. We were walking and discussing what life will be like for our children one day. He reminisced about how growing up on a farm taught him the value of hard work and I talked about how my curiosity drove my mom berserk, but taught me a lot. I said "What am I going to say to our kids when they ask a question? To go get on the computer and Google it?"
Looking back, I appreciate my mom telling me to "go look up" the strange questions I would ask her. I'd go over to the bookcase, skim the sleeves until I found the letter of the subject I was curious about and read away. Not a glamorous task, but it helped me to learn. Now, the Internet is there for our children like that shelf filled with a dictionary and a set of Britannica's once was for me.
I always say how strange it is that my generation is the last one to not be completely reliant on technology. My family didn't have a computer until I was in the 5th grade. And even then, nobody was that interested in them until I entered high school and chat rooms got popular. Blackberrys were unheard of. Cell phones, for that matter, were unheard of. Video games, well Atari, was for only the cool kids. MTV and VH1 were barely in existence. The brand iPod could've been the dog's name in The Jetsons. Plasma screen, LCD, DVD, laptop, blogs and YouTube didn't mean jack.
After much reflection, I still can't decide if technology has been more of a blessing or a curse in my life. I've weighed some pros (roses) versus the cons (thorns) and am still at a loss. Here's a piece of my logic:
ON CONNECTING & LEARNING
Rose: Long lost family, friends and professional colleagues are able to reconnect easily thanks to Geni, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social web tools.
Thorn: Children can easily connect with bad, bad, dirty people.
Rose: I get to learn new information everyday and easily see updates and photos of friends', their husbands, their children and their adventures in general on social networking sites.
Thorn: There's so much great and interesting content online that it makes for an annoying distraction at times (really, is it a need to check Facebook again?)
Rose: Everyone is their own doctor thanks to WebMD.
Thorn: I've been known to diagnose my own health issues...and have scared myself to death (thankfully most of my diagnoses were wrong).
Rose: We are able to delay death by diagnosing and treating major health issues by using advanced medical technology. Apple even has an iPhone app to check blood pressure for goodness sake.
Thorn: Knowing about these major issues can cause major stress in our lives. In fact, sometimes I wish we could go back to the caveman days when ignorance was bliss.
Rose: Being out of the office is possible during the day thanks to cell phones, smart phones, Wi-Fi and remote email access.
Thorn: Friday used to be the end of the work week. Now it doesn't ever really end.
Rose: Email makes things more efficient in the office.
Thorn: Email makes it easy to not have to pick up the phone to talk with colleagues across the office. I could use the human interaction sometimes....and exercise for that matter.
Would I change progression? Absolutely not. I couldn't live without most of it. But much like my parents like to tell me about how they walked to school up hill both ways, I'll be damned if I don't rant to my kids about the good 'ol days of BG: before Google.