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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Can Screens Be Dangerous??

As I sat in the hair salon this morning with my three children waiting for my daughter's turn to get her hair done, I looked around at the sad array of disconnected people there.  They were "connected" in the sense that they were all looking down at their little screens, apparently keeping up with friends, but disconnected in the sense that they were all totally oblivious to what was going on around them.
 
My children started out by sitting on the bench next to me and then gradually hopped down and began exploring the small sitting area as young children are apt to do.  They seemed surprised that no one was paying any attention to them and I wondered why more people don't realize that a baby's face is a better window into the wonders of the Universe than the internet could ever be.

But the people just sat and stared at their screens.  I felt a little awkward being the only one without a cell phone of any kind.

One girl had an earring through her nose that was really very disturbing to see and two young boys had just finished getting haircuts that seemed a bit racy for their tender years.  I questioned why I had come here with my coupon instead of just taking my daughter to my regular salon that is full of old ladies, gossip and curlers.

Then I heard a bit of laughter.  An old lady had struck up a conversation with a middle aged lady about whether the meat she had purchased that morning would spoil in her car outside.  I couldn't help but sigh with relief.  I felt like I was alive again and could breathe easily.  We don't quite live in an impersonal zombie world after all.

Indeed, at times it does seem that we live in a world where the golden rule is, "Every man for himself!"  How disconcerting is this if you are sick or a child that just can't take care of yourself and needs to rely on the kindness of others.  Maybe it's time to "get outside the box" of our own little virtual worlds and experiment with those friendly virtues like compassion and sympathy.

The screens disturbed me.  I admit that I am not out in public very much besides shopping, the library, the park, or Church.  Suffice it to say, communication even at those places is getting more difficult.  At the grocery store, people will go around you rather than ask to get something on the shelf or ask for help.

Screens are scary when you think about what comes out of the internet and television.  How much evil filth is spilled into our living rooms or out of our iPhones each day and what effort do we make to shovel it out or do we just leave it there to fester until a bigger problem presents itself- a lot worse than spoiled meat in the car!  The demons are taking over the screens to the point that our world is becoming a place full of constant, walking evil!  In the store, in the waiting rooms, on the busses, in the Churches, people bring their screens and thus transport a virtual world of undisputedly demonic influence.

I just read an article about how bad screens are for the development of children under two (and probably any age) and why reading anything off a screen hinders how well we absorb the information.  There is also an old story of how St. Elizabeth Anne Seton experienced a vision in which she said it was prophesied to her that one days every American would have a "black box in their home through which the devil will enter".

Suffice it to say that I just got rid of our television (we never had cable TV, just movies) and I do not carry a cell phone of any kind...  I'm hoping this will help deter the insanity of the virtual world in our house.  Screens creep me out and I do not think I am exaggerating in putting some value behind that feeling.

(By the way, what lately threw me over the edge on this subject was the book Return To Order in which the author elaborates on the dangers of impersonal, fast paced modern society or what he calls "frenetic intemperance".  If you have not heard about it, you need to visit this website today: http://www.returntoorder.org/)

What do you think???

6 comments:

  1. I agree that people are no longer talking. I am not happy about the influence of screen time on children. I have a sister who is a pediatrician and she said that they have documentation that it alters the way the brain works when babies/toddlers are exposed to phone screens and things that move very fast.
    We have been without a TV since 2008. We don't have internet in our home because we can't afford it and I don't think it would be a good idea. Our exposure to the internet is at my place of work or at the library. I visited with my sister and found it distracting that she relies on her cell phone for so much and in the middle of a conversation pulls it out. We do have cell phones because it is cheaper than a landline in my area. They are not smart phones. Just basic phones so that we can keep in touch with each other. I believe that it is getting harder and harder to keep evil out of our day to day lives with the exposure to so many screens.
    Thanks for bringing up this topic.
    Kate

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  2. We have a tv, but don't use it much. It is hooked up to "basic cable" (which means, 6 or so stations - the networks plus, weirdly enough, EWTN) since for some reason it's cheaper to get internet+cable than just internet alone. I watch Downton Abbey on PBS and not much else. We also get dvds in the mail from Netflix, so watch a movie about once a week. I'm curious about your decision to get rid of tv altogether. Can you talk about your thought process and what you see as the pros and cons?

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    1. I finally just got rid of the TV because my kids were watching it too much, like every day they were asking to watch Baby Einstein and Curious George, and I tended to use it to quiet them down almost every day. This is not necessarily a bad think in my opinion, but for us it was too much and got to the point were they preferred watching movies over playing. We still can watch DVDs on the laptop. I still like to watch movies at night and lately have been enjoying a BBC documentary on the Queen. That is interesting that you get EWTN.

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  3. I don't see how reading a book on my phone at the hair salon is so bad.

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  5. This is a great post and I couldn't agree more, especially when it comes to phones. We have a TV for DVDs, and even though we only have Catholic or wholesome videos, my children usually want to watch something everyday. I would like to cut back, so I'd be really interested to hear updates about how it is going without a TV!

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