Its reckoned …

From a news article recently that teenagers have the mental upset equivalent to low level mental patients of the 1950’s. I wonder to what extent this is true?

It certainly cannot be a good thing to be feeding from a screen ever readily presenting what we crave, or the bombardment of colour graphics and endless ‘information’ and activity, its all intentionally designed to keep you hooked, to crave more. These things are unwholesome, they are not of human type.

The term ‘social’ media is mostly a bit of a joke, scraps and snippets of nonsense traded and ‘liked’ and pinged in circles of equal nonsense. Theres not much reality for many, no practical work, no actual building of knowledge or skill other than being able to text quickly. Goodness knows how this has diminished attention span and halted many or most from involvement in the world around them, they build create nothing.

What is intelligent behaviour? Certainly its not often to be seen when holding a mobile device, theres no chance whatsoever of hearing or reading the words of wisdom gained by previous generations, kids are held in a never ending present moment. Its my personal trick sans smart phone for instance each dreaded ‘Bank Holiday’ to choose a topic that interests me, the last one a few day ago was ‘the Gothic vault rib’ and wow I learnt a lot even from just a few ten minute sessions dipping into a couple of books here that include that subject, its called ‘on paper’.

Our possible skills and abilities are being trivialised, cast to the wind by this perpetual need by so many to be ‘connected’. Clever kids and those from more enlightened lets say educated households know fine well in their educational journey (lets say to a professional career) that the smart phone needs definitely to be turned off. Therefore from this statement we can say that society is more than ever being stratified into the educated and the uneducated, those that can reach out of the bubble and those stuck in it. Or could we say those hooked to the bloody thing separate from those somehow still able to build something in time and space not needing to be plugged in and recharged. This is tragic. I’m sure we are discarding human development skills (ie hand, brain, soul) and a myriad of social interconnections. And it also proves that in many ways the web, the smart phone is actually the denigrator and potential enemy of the ordinary person. Perhaps in the coming decades ignoring climate catastrophe of course we would see the emergence of a definite underclass, what used to be called the workers; oh dear ripe for fascist thinking.

People have their appetite ‘to belong’ satisfied by joining groups of like minded folk, witness Jan 6th and the stupidity and barbarism of storming The Capitol. No wonder quite sadly you add them to ‘your feed’ …. feeding off such moronic nonsense is indeed what is happening and results in huge assemblies of hot-heads from far and wide.

I personally have never much got anywhere online for my social life, maybe a couple of times in a decade but I would now never give the effort to find them in the first place by digital means, but give me real world one-to-one and I can engage a person, bring them out of themselves and am often quite amazed at the quality of interaction.

What the web (apart from reasonable better quality news sites) cannot do is offer a balanced view, a more open debate. Where people after their visit are a little more enlightened than when they arrived a few minutes ago. Closed groups do indeed shut out light and air, they breath their own stench so to speak. Things that should be much improved or improving such as minority rights, womens rights, free movement of immigrants and a safe haven extended, education for the poor, a broader more interesting education offering possibilities are all being throttled and cast back to previous generations, the infamous Father Coglan would have wholeheartedly embraced the web, ie a spewer of hate.

By means of the web idiosyncratic individuals can be manipulated and their unsound, illogical or cruel and uncharitable views and opinions enabled and amplified so as to carry too much importance, importance beyond any merit of their arguament. We used to have the cornerstone of good manners, considerate behaviour when meeting people face to face, a desire to fit in society and help the general good. But its obvious web engines, sites and algorithms or whatever prefer to promote vitriol and upset in many cases; they want you to keep clicking ever yet more material. The web can destroy any sense of neighbourhood, yes the local church group can link up and natter among themselves but i reckon for every one of them there will be fifty more unsavoury web users that feel empowered by the echo chamber they visit online.

I don’t think theres anything we can do other than structure kids lives as much as possible to turn the bloody thing off and try to set a good example, thats of course if you can get them to drag their eyes away from the screen in the first place. I’ve always reckoned far better to have anything web in black and white only!

Users are being manipulated on two levels most certainly, firstly to keep attention to the device, to receive or encounter more new product and its advertising and its link take-up but secondly this also leaves whole societies, nations and shell we say special interest groups wide open to nefarious manipulation, witness the rise of 1930’s bigotry of trump and the strengthening of other unhealthy intolerant movements. We are now reaping the results of ‘immediate connection’ for like minded individuals. I don’t think human nature possesses sufficient magnaminity to outride this potentially disastrous consequence.

Interestingly the last mobile phone I encountered was that of my now deceased wife, it was say year 2000, I’m up in the countryside and i couldn’t operate it, and being the placid laid back considerate person that i am, I destroyed it under my boot, it could no longer humiliate me. Sod technology I say, its making fools of all of us.

In many ways we are the poorer for having the web.

I have encyclopedias, I have books, I am not a formally educated man and make no pretence to be of such, but I’m not stupid either and things must be bad when I can answer usually quicker than the contestants many of the questions on University Challenge!

copyright 2021 E&OE

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