About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 16, 2012

Technology – Is It Dumbing You Down?

I was talking to a friend of mine this week and we were remembering what it used to be like in the olden days, which was really not that long ago for some of us.  However, for the youngsters… well young people have no idea. 

Here are a couple of details we talked about.  This may be similar to one of the lists you might find online but these are some of my thoughts.  Do you remember any of these?

  • Many people today have never seen an eight-track tape.
  • Most have no idea what it was like when on Saturday morning you grabbed your bike and took off with your mom yelling, "Be home by nine tonight," and you were.
  • We ate huge bowls of sugared cereals, maybe half a box for breakfast and we were never fat.  Now kids eat healthy food and are over the recommended BMI (see above for the reason why).  By-the-way, my favorite TRIX was first introduced in 1954 by General Mills and was more than 46% sugar.
  • When we got in trouble at school the teacher/principal called my mom/dad.  I got in more trouble at home, including maybe a spanking to teach me not to do it again. There was never a discussion about how or why the authority was picking on me.
  • We talked to a live person when we called customer care and didn’t have to push buttons…oh wait, the phones did not have buttons.

OK, enough reminiscing about the good old days. Do not fret young people; some of it really was not good. 

Here are several of the ideas I have about what may be ruining our brains.

Analog dial phoneSmartphone dialRegarding cell/smart phones I would remember a phone number for a long while once I had dialed it several times.  Of course, with the only area code in Virginia being 703 it made that part easier.  Today, you may know the top ten speed dial numbers, but you probably will not be able to quote the actual phone number.

How about learning information and telling people about it.  Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, there is  You really do not have to "waste time" remembering anything. Since you always have your smart phone in your pocket/purse/waist you can look up whatever you need to know.

Speaking of "speaking" how about the art of talking?  As I write this article I am in a local eatery (yes, they have free Wi-Fi) watching people all around me.  There is a family of four, dad, mom and two kids (I figure below 12 years of age.)  The mom is surfing or reading on her tablet and the dad is reading a newspaper (yeah, real paper).  The kids are both on their smart phones texting and laughing.  I wonder if that family could talk for a while about the day, life, school or whatever.  I imagine the kids have a hard time getting a point across without saying, "LOL" (laughing out loud) or "4COL" (for crying out loud).

Smartphone calculatorI am being dumbed down too.  I used to be extremely capable of working most any real life math problem in my head.  I did those calculations quickly and accurately too.  Today, I hate to say it but it is my habit to pull out my smart phone and use the calculator function to figure it out instead.  Can I still do them in my head?  Yes.  Can I still do them as quickly?  No, but I believe that is a disuse and age issue. 

Oh well, let me spell check this before I finish since I cannot spell as well as I…oh no!  What examples of dumbing down can you think of?

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