I work on a college campus and I take a walk every morning, and then again every afternoon. While walking, I people watch and there is something I have noticed a lot recently. I have noticed that today's generation (particularly those of the 12 - 30 age range) can hardly go anywhere or do anything without some sort of media stimulation. While walking around campus, you will find at least 95% of the students who are alone will have one of the following: headphones from their mp3 player in their ears, their phone (texting or talking), or both.
It seems as if it is impossible for these students to walk from one class to another without listening to music, texting, or talking. I can remember when I was a student and the kids couldn't even make it out of the classroom before getting on their phone. Is it really that hard to walk somewhere without the media? Do they worry that they may miss something important in that 5 minute walk to class or their car? What is so important? Have they never taken in the sounds of nature around them? Are they aware of the people (and possible creepers) around them? Do they care?
I worry about the generation in the future. What happens when these students get jobs in the "real world" and have to communicate with others face to face? Do they have those skills? Not everything can be discussed, sold, settled, explained, etc. through a quick email or text. Many employers will not tolerate headphones. If you're lucky, you will be able to play music softly in the background, but it has to be suitable for those around you. What then?
Kids today will not know what the world was like before cell phones and the Internet. They will never know what it is like to look up a phone number in an actual phonebook. Or get directions from a map, or take notes with pencil and paper. Or even know about how we carried all of our notebooks, folders, and papers around in a 3-ring binder or trapper keeper. We didn't have laptops. We had to wait for out grades to come out on a report card and not view them posted on the Internet.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love my smartphone and all it has to offer. I think it is a great invention and it certainly makes life easier sometimes. I just worry about the kids of today's generation and whether or not they will have the social skills to be successful in the future. Does anyone else out there have the same thoughts?