EUGENE, Ore. — It’s difficult to get a word in edge wise with local Eugene youth who seem to have their cell phones stuck to their ears.
When asking local Eugene youth “what’s so important that you have your cell stuck to your head all the time,” they simply say something like “get the %*%@”) out of my face,” or “nothing really, I just have a lot of minutes to use.”
Others say they’re sick of being “so connected” because “there’s never a time of day or place in Eugene where my mom can’t get a hold of me on my cell.”
In turn, some young people are even considering a sort of tech detox during the summer months when they’re at the pool or the coast anyway, and “who needs to say ‘I’m here at the pool,” or “other things I ususally say when calling friends,” explains Jill, a Lane Community College freshman.
Youth quitting technology for the summer so to re-boot their human side
A group of 20 something students here at Lane Community College in Eugene have taken a self-imposed technology “fast,” so they can “live deliberately again by exploring the essential facts of life” that Henry David Thoreau wrote about in his book “Walden” back in 1854.
An information technology group here in Eugne admits to using “software” that reminded it’s busy and overstressed IT workers to “pet the dog when you get home,” and “tell your wife that you love her and then giver her flowers on the anniversary of your wedding day.”
While such tips for brainy computer gurus may sound crazy it’s real, says Eugene local Heather who left her IT position a few years ago and is now a full-time student who, along with a group of others, is swearing off technology for the summer. In turn, a famed MIT professor recently wrote about a young man named Brad who gave up texting, Facebook and playing games and e-mailing on his laptop because “of its centrality to social life.”
Why some youth are giving up the madness of constant Net use
“The most decisive step that I can think of is to leave Facebook. Some, like Brad, are exhausted by its pressure for performance. Some say they find themselves being “cruel” online with friends and that this suppresses his healthy inhibitions. Others say they lose touch with their ‘real’ friends as they spend hours keeping up contacts with the ‘friended.’ Some even rebel against the reality that Facebook owns (in the most concrete terms) the story of their lives,” writes Professor Sherry Turkle in her new book “Alone Together.”
At the same time, Turkle notes that some young people even view Facebook and other social media as something that “encourages them to judge themselves in superficial ways. They agonize over what photographs to post. They digitally altar their Facebook photographs to look more appealing. But even after so much time, writing profiles and editing photos, the fiction of a Facebook page is that it is put up with a kind of aristocratic nonchalance.”
Turkle points to one teen she interviewed named Louis who says: “It’s like a girl wearing too much makeup, trying too hard. It’s supposed to look like you don’t care. But no believes this myth of ‘oh, I just threw some stuff up on my page. I’m very cool, when, in fact, being on Facebook is not cool at all.”
Why do people expect more from technology than their own human relationships
“Drawn by the illusion of companionship with the demands of intimacy, we conduct ‘rick free’ affairs on Second Life and confuse the scattershot postings on a Facebook wall with authentic communication,” states the introduction to “Alone Together; Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other,” by MIT technology and society specialist Professor Sherry Turkle who spent 15-years exploring why more than 500 million people feel a need to expose their personal lives on Facebook that’s now creating huge social and personal safety problems worldwide.
Based on interviews with hundreds of children and adults who are addicted to Facebook as a means to carry out their social lives, Turkle describes “new, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy and solitude.”
In turn, these students who are undertaking a full cell phone and Internet fast says they’re onto Thoreau’s quest that “inspires us to ask of our life with technology: Do we live deliberately? Do we turn away from life that is not life. Do we refuse resignation?”
Thus, these community college students note that they no longer want to “get lost on the web,” but really live in the now and see what happens.