How Men, Women and Children Can Be Smarter Than Their Smart Devices

Smart devices, tablets and smartphones are literally a dream come true for me. I believe that the tablet, such as an iPad, represents a new hallmark in bringing the benefits of computers to the average person. There is a quantum difference between using even an advanced notebook computer and using a tablet with a built in, always-on, Internet connection. It’s a life changing device, especially if you are on the go.

But, like everything else in life, there’s a cost associated with all of this, and I’m not referring to the price of acquisition or the monthly service fees for Internet access. The true price of these devices is directly related to the benefits.

  • You are always connected.
  • You have an email platform at your fingertips all the time.
  • You can look up anything that interests you on the Internet at any time.
  • Reminders can keep you from forgetting appointments.
  • You are always connected.
  • You have an email platform at your fingertips all the time.
  • You can look up anything that interests you on the Internet at any time.
OK, reminders from your calendar are pretty useful so I didn’t list that as a cost, but the rest of this hastily assembled list I stand behind.
Being connected 100% of the time can be a pain. Most of my life has been lived without a mobile phone or even an answering machine. There’s a beauty to being able to be out of touch. Sometime all of us need time to ourselves and, sadly, mobile technology has made this concept nearly extinct.
Email is an amazing tool, a true miracle of technology. Nonetheless, it can be pretty distracting. Ever get an email while driving? Did you sneak a peek? Ever have an email distract you during a meeting at work? How about having a meeting interrupted because someone else’s phone or tablet loudly notified them of an incoming message?
Looking up anything that interests you at any time is extremely useful. But even this has, at least, a downside of sorts. Sometimes it’s easy to become sidetracked and to forget that the purpose of whatever it is you were doing is not to chase off down the Information Highway and hop from hyper-link to hyper-link until you’ve forgotten why you started all of this to begin with.
There is a new movie out called “Men, Women and Children.” It deals with real life problems as they are experienced in the era of continuous Internet connectivity with smartphones, tablets, etc. I haven’t seen the movie and will probably wait until it comes out on disk, but I find it interesting that such a movie has become feasible to produce. Obviously, a nerve has been touched in society at large and there are people out there thinking about the effects of mobile technology on our lives. I am coming to the conclusion that mobile technology and continuous Internet access have  harmed us at least as much as they’ve helped us. (Even as I am using an iPad to type most of this.) Reading about the Internet’s role in the movie I fear that a lot of people don’t understand that there’s an OFF button and that it deserves to be used. I learned this about TV when I was a young man and my life has been better because of it. I think that I’ve figured this out about the Net but it still takes an inordinate amount of time and attention. I’m glad to see a movie about the effects upon our lives.
It is no coincidence that “Men, Women and Children” deals with the role of the Internet in our society’s sex life. Something that is with you most of your waking hours is bound to have a broad effect upon your life and smart devices have certainly streamlined access to sexual materials on the web. With a smart device it is entirely feasible to join a dating site, search for potential partners in your area, take  a photograph and exchange it instantly while you communicate via various messaging facilities, all from the relative convenience of, well, almost anywhere that cellular data services exist.
“Men, Women and Childre”n includes an unhappy husband looking online for the services of a prostitute and perusing porn. The equally frustrated wife seeks an adulterous affair via Ashley Madison and their son is porn addicted and unable to have sex when the opportunity presents itself. The characters in the movie spend a lot of time interacting with smart devices. This plot would have been science fiction even 20 years ago but it’s everyday life in 2014.
I was a fairly early adopter of the Internet once it became a consumer product in the mid ‘90s. It changed my life, but sadly I was tempted by porn and harmed my own happiness greatly because of this. It was a major factor in a painful divorce and the effects still are a daily reality for me. I had made significant progress in rooting porn from my life, but the specter of unlimited variety made Internet porn too tempting to resist, until it was too late. My life, and the lives of countless others, could be sub-plots in “Men, Women and Children.”
I find it fascinating that this movie begins and ends with a reference to Voyager, a  pair of spacecraft launched in 1977 that iare hurtling out into the vast unknown as they leave the sun’s sphere of influence. I won’t speculate about the producer’s motives for making Voyager a part of this film but I will share with you my thoughts on the matter. Voyager was a very ambitious project that took advantage of the fact that all of the planets from Jupiter to Neptune would be roughly aligned in the late seventies and into the early eighties. From 1979 until 1989 there were periodic updates as the Voyager spacecraft made their encounters with these outer planets. Interestingly, the Voyager missions roughly coincide with my adulthood.
While Voyager represented a technical feat of incredible magnitude at the time it was launched, technology has not stood still back here on earth. In 1977 society was much different than it is now. There was more face to face interaction and the rate of societal change was very slow in comparison to what it is now. Had a human traveler left the US at the same time as Voyager that person would barely recognize the social environment were they to return to earth today. Using the span of the Voyager missions as a yardstick we can see that technology has far out-distanced the ability of society to keep pace. The “rules” of 1977 could never have anticipated the reality of life just 37 years later. Sadly, far too many people live by rules instead of understanding the principles that govern civilization; such things as honesty, integrity, marital fidelity and concern for others are not codified in law, but they can effectively guide our decisions even in rapidly changing times.
The sad fact is that in failing to keep up with the times we have lost much of our character. Life changes continually but just because porn is now available in the privacy of your own home doesn’t make viewing porn advisable. The existence of YBOP bears testimony to the effects of Internet porn. There was porn when Voyager launched, back in ’77, but its inroads into society were minimal compared to what they are now, when anyone with a computer, smartphone, etc, can be watching hardcore porn at a moment’s notice.