Too Much Technology?

” It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”- Albert Einstein

 

Pop Cutlure has a superstar these days and it’s the electronic device… Billions of users own one of these babies so they must be something really super special. Yes, they are pretty spectacular and not to be a buzzkill…but these little gems also have a dark side. In this blog post essay, I will point out the negative effects that too much technology has on our society and provide some evidence to support my assertion :

devices

New Technology! We automatically assume this is a good thing…right? At first thought it would seem so, but if one puts on their critical thinking cap, they would realize that there is a good argument to be made that these addicting little devices also have a downside, and overuse create many a problem if not kept in check. Everything should be done in moderation, but let’s face it – something as mesmerizing as an amazing little digital device, refraining from all that fun can be a challenge!

Ahhh….who doesn’t cherish their snazzy new smartphone or I pad ?  Before they were introduced on the consumer market , how did we ever function without them? Quite nicely indeed is the answer to that question. We owned home desktop computers, and a beeper served as an excellent way to reach someone in an emergency…somehow people found a way to call the person in need, by either borrowing someone’s landline phone, or by finding a pay phone that used to be on almost every main street corner. I must admit, life has become easier and the world of education more expansive with the advances of digital modern technology, but Is today’s incredible and seemingly endless availability of technology too much of a good thing? I believe it is, especially when it comes to young people, and here are several very good reasons why I make this assertion:

 

#1 The Social Ramifications

put away your phone family nice

The good old days of sitting down to dinner with family and actually talking about everyone’s day, seem to be rapidly dwindling. I suppose checking Facebook or sending a text is more important than talking to the person sitting next to you- really?! Whenever I am out in public, I can’t help but notice that people more often than not, have their faces in their devices, instead of having a face to face conversation with the person(s) they are with. Not engaging in meaningful conversation with fellow human beings on a consistent basis, does little to develop a young person’s interpersonal skills, or cultivate existing friendships. Learning how to relate to people in a social setting, is an all important skill necessary to function in the real world!

#2 TMI !

omg kids computerno you tube

Our smartphones and Tablets are really just compact little computers that provide oodles of information, but how much is too much? Do young people really need access to that many websites or social media sites or You Tube Videos, some of are completely inappropriate, and take away from children’s already short lived years of innocence. Social media sites allow our kids to put their most personal information out there and that is just a terrible idea. There are also the risks of cyber bullying, in which 25% of todays teens claim they are a victim of ! : http://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/

And then there are the advertisers who collect data and are like stalkers, and thanks to Google and the like, they know exactly what a user is interested in, and what product or service to barrage them with. Do we really want big corporations constantly targeting our kids to get them to buy stuff? I think Not!

 

 

#3  The Expense

dollar signheres-what-i-learned-using-teen-monitoring-softwa-2-15867-1411506115-27_big

Kids used to ask for an “expensive” pair of $75 tennis shoes , but now they want the latest version of the I Phone which can set a parent back several hundred dollars- not to mention the monthly fees . The digital device kids wave around at school can be seen as a status symbol, not to mention a reflection of someone’s economic status. Almost every highschool student these days  have a smartphone – and granted, sometimes it is necessary to have a phone to stay in touch with mom or dad, but the mini computers are overkill- and equipping your kid with the latest device is expensive, and unfortunately not all families can afford them!

 

#4 Attractive Distraction

kids on devicescrazy kid

I work with school aged children, and I can’t help but notice how incredibly attracted kids are to electronic devices these days. In our classroom, when the kids are given a choice of what they would like to do during free time, EVERY time the FIRST choice is ALWAYS to play with the IPAD. Kids are simply mesmerized by these little devices and can’t ever to seem to get enough. I have even noticed with my own daughter, that when we let her know it’s time to log off her favorite virtual game she is immersed in, she becomes annoyed after being pulled out of “the zone” she was in . A friend of mine did an experiment with her young son recently, and told him he could do ANYTHING he wanted at home that day, and wouldn’t you know he played games ALL DAY on the computer!? Kids can easily become obsessed and with the massive amounts of bright and shiny, super exciting games available to them on these alluring devices!

 

#5 Unhealthy Obsession

heavy kids with ed3 kids on mobile device

Technology is replacing outdoor activities and many of our kids are not getting outside to play as much as they should. Allowing a child to play on their device as much for hours on end , is not particularly good parenting . Sure, it’s much easier to send them to their room with a digital device vs taking them out for a bit of physical activity, but is not in the best interest of the child. This lack of physical activity causes laziness and problematic weight gain. Childhood Obesity is a health issue in the U.S. and kids sitting around with their face in a device, is definitely not helping. In fact, too much screen time can be directly related to many children’s weight problems :http://www.insightmediaintl.com/cause-childhood-obesity.html. The bottom line is that overuse of digital devices are causing kids in our society to become couch potatoes and disengaged in the real world, and that should concern all of us!

 

So there you have it! I have stated my case and brought about my concerns about the dangers of device overuse, and the direction technology is taking us these days. I have the strong opinion that Too Much Technology can take away from Family, Health, Relationships and even our Finances.

 

Got an App for that ?

oculus riftrp1

 

My question is this : Have I Pads, Tablets and Smart Phones done a masterful job of paving the way for an inevitable predominantly virtual world? What about The New Oculous Rift?  Given society’s heightened interest in all this new technology, and the strides that electronics have made since 1993 when smart phones first appeared, is it plausible that one day someone like James Halliday in the Sci Fi novel Ready Player One – will create an Oasis type society? Think about…..critically of course 🙂

 

 

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Then and Now…….

 

For this quest I had the pleasure of interviewing my mother who identified the following as pop culture during the 60’s. Mom said this project brought back a lot of good memories 🙂

 

The Beatles Music

beatles The songs Hey Jude and Let It Be were Mom’s 2 favorites . As a young married couple, my mother and father listened to their music.Being an immigrant from England herself, this uber popular legendary musical rock band of British blokes were of particular interest to Mom. My father was born in a town very close to Liverpool where the Beatles are from so they were both particularly fond of The Beatles Music:)

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Polyester Leisure Suits-

l suit640px-LeisureSuitConvention4

These polyester suits were hugely popular in the 1960’s. My dad was always quite the dresser, and with one of these babies and a pair of chunky heels he was really stylin’ back then! Whether he was going to work or going out for a night of dancing or partying with Mom, he was sure to be wearing one of these pop culture fashion threads.

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Drive in Movies

DRIVEIN2speakers

This form of entertainment was popular in the 1960’s and my Mom and Dad loved taking us kids to the Drive In movies . Mom has fond memories of when her and my Dad used to sneak us young kiddos in under the blankets in the back seat so us kiddos would get in for free, they did not have much money back then so this made for an inexpensive night of family fun.

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Ballroom Dancing

bd2bd

This was a very popular kind of dance when Mom and Dad were dating, and they loved partaking in this romantic and stylish type of dancing, especially at New Years Eve Parties. Ballroom Dancing was a wonderful adult activity which they continued into the child rearing years, and they never missed ringing the New Year with a little sophisticated booty shaking.

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Slinky Toy

slinkytoys

The history of the famous Slinky : http://www.slinkyprint.com/slinky_history.htm

Slinky was a huge hit of a toy in the 1960’s and beyond.  This popular toy has a special meaning for Mom because she used to work for the Company in Chicago that made them! With over 300 million sold since it was first produced , this seemingly useless toy is definitely part of our popular culture !

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These are some of MY favorite Pop Culture things :

The Rolling Stones Music

stoneswild horses rs

With over 66 million records sold and sold out concerts, The Rolling Stones are definitely a big part of the Pop Culture music genre. One of my very favorite songs by them is called Wild Horses, pretty low key compared to some of their other big hits like Satisfaction or Jumping Jack Flash!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles%27_influence_on_popular_culture

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Fashion : Jeggings !

jeggings

I love them because they are more fashionable than Levis and more comfortable than skinny Jeans…so Jeggings are the ticket for me 🙂 They are so popular that even Beyoncé wears them ! http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2010-12-07-jeggings07_ST_N.htm ……so you know they will go down in history as a part of our Pop Culture Fashion if she sometimes adorns her bod with these awesome alternative to Jeans.

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Netflix Movies

netflix

Call me lazy or even cheap, but my husband and I find this super popular way to watch a huge variety of movies about twice a week for about 8 bucks a month. We don’t even have to go to Redbox twice for each flick! To be able and choose from the thousands of movie offerings online and have them delivered directly to our mailbox, now that is really awesome and convenient! With over 100,000 DVD titles and over 50 million members in 40 countries, I would say Netflix is a member of todays pop culture !

http://mashable.com/2013/12/05/netflix-cable-users/

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Starbucks

sb cupsb chart

Okay so we don’t go Ballroom Dancing, and we don’t even go dancing, but one of our enjoyments in life and favorite treats is to go to occasionally stop in at Starbucks and have a nice hot and always flavorful Latte . When I’m super busy and need a pick me up, I love having the option of driving thru and buying a warm cup of much needed energy . Starbucks is known world wide and anybody who has not heard the name must not be living near civilization. With more than 20k stores and millions of satisfied customers, Starbucks Coffee is definitely part of our Pop Culture today 🙂

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2012/08/06/3-reasons-why-starbucks-still-shines-despite-market-shortcomings/

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My Favorite Toy :

tabletwc

 

Okay, its not a Slinky ( thank goodness ) but it is a 7″ tablet that I use everyday without fail. I can do so many things on my little mini computer including my favorite game called Word Chums. It means a lot to me that I can enjoy a fun and educational game with my daughter- good stuff! Tablets are hugely popular in todays world and rarely do you see someone without their face in some kind of electronic device. With an estimated 90 million tablet users in the U.S> today I think it is safe to say that the Tablet is part of today’s Pop Culture !

http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/21/estimate-90-million-u-s-tablet-users-by-2014-ipads-drop-to-68-share/

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Now that I have laid out Mom’s favorite Pop Culture items and My Own, it is obvious that times were simpler in the 1960’s vs 2014 and our values have definitely changed. Albeit 1960’s rock and roll was considered a bit wild, it was a far cry from some of today’s music which can be a bit over the top and at times crude and deliver a negative message. Comparing the popular fashion statements , back then most members of society seemed to have more pride in the way they dressed which was more conservative and less racy or ultra casual, like the way some people dress today. In regards to entertainment, a family movie together at The Drive In outside took more effort vs sitting on the couch watching a movie that all one has to do is take a walk to the mailbox or order it from the remote. Even the Ballroom Dancing was a somewhat elegant type of entertainment vs dancing to a DJ in a bar who plays an assortment of sometimes inaudible and loud so called music. Our super busy schedules in today’s worlds sometimes need a little help getting accomplished, and what better way than to grab a jolt of java…Back in Mom’s day people were not so overscheduled and overworked that they needed that extra cup of coffee to get through the day . And then there are the toys of today , most of which are electronic based- even the 5 year olds ( or younger ) have access to a computer or an I pad of some kind to play games instead of an actual toy . All in all, society seemed to be more active in the 1960’s and people got out more for good, clean fun and entertainment. No wonder Mom has such fond memories 🙂

 

 

 

Pop Culture Bloggers

Love and Lemons Food Blog

veggiecookies

http://www.loveandlemons.com/

If you have not heard the term GLUTEN FREE lately , then you have been living under a rock ! This site has many Gluten Free Recipes which is extremely popular these days ( and necessary ) for more and more people who discover they need this type of diet. I also love this blog because I love good healthy food and the bloggers for Love and Lemons are inspired by colorful seasonal produce which is my fave and I don’t always know what to do with the newest batch of fruits and veggies that appear in the old grocery store. The husband and wife team create the mostly vegetarian recipes  together and then photograph them in their kitchen in Austin, TX. and Almost every recipe has at least a squeeze of lemon , hence the name Love and Lemons. Healthy food is becoming more popular in today’s world and our society is becoming more health conscious . Not everybody is into junk or fast food , me included! This husband and wife team have put together a nice website with yummy sounding recipes and delicious looking pictures. Wife Jeannie loves to cook and hubby Jack loves to taste test.The blog has also received some pretty impressive accolades since its 2011 launch including : being featured in media outlets such as Redbook Magazine, Food 52, Refinery29 and SELF Magazine. Love & Lemons was recently named 2014 Readers Choice Best Cooking Blog by Saveur Magazine. Wow !

Here are their latest recipes and all I can say is yum !

Unpopular Culture

Unpopular Culture

The (un) popular culture topic I chose to blog about is extreme body piercings. I do not meant to suggest that too many piercings, or questionable body piercings have a negative impact on American society as a whole, but rather on the individual people who choose to decorate their bods  in these unusual ways.

ottott2huge ear

For the record, I am in full support and do not judge any person expressing themselves artistically in whatever way they choose to with their own body, and using piercings is one way to accomplish that. However, not only are there risks involving the human body, the person who proudly displays the over the top personal expressions could also jeopardize their chances of snagging that job they are after. Being passed over for that great job they are likely quite deserving is a reality in today’s society as discussed in this web article :

http://www.careerealism.com/hiring-discrimination-tattoos-piercings/

In addition to potential rejection in the working world, there are physical risks involved as well . Certain types of body piercing can be dangerous, In particular the tongue, lips, nipples, navel and genital area. The preceding kinds of piercings can cause several types of health problems for the person opting for this type of piercing including the following :

Infection of the mouth or lips may cause speech, chewing, or swallowing problems or swelling that can block the throat :

oral piercing infected tongue

 

Infection of a nipple can scar the breast tissue and limit the ability to breast-feed later.

The infection may be potentially serious or life-threatening and involve the entire body (systemic):

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/1115/p2029.html

Splitting or tearing of the skin or tongue , which may cause the formation of scar tissue.

torn tongue

Problems with the type of jewelry used, including allergies to a metal. Jewelry in the mouth or lips can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, gum problems, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. Jewelry can also become loose and be swallowed.

Body piercing problem

Jewelry in the navel can get caught on clothing and linens. This constant irritation can delay healing. Navel piercings can take up to a year to heal completely.

bad idea

Jewelry in the genital area may cause injury to you or your sex partner. It also can cause condom breakage, increasing the risk of pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted infections. Piercings in the penis can decrease a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection : http://omicsonline.org/complications-of-genital-piercings-2161-1173-2-122.pdf

toothacheDamage to underlying blood vessels or nerves  nerve damage

Scarring of the piercing site. scar

And, here are even more potential health issues as noted from Web MD : http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-piercing

As you can see , even though body piercing is a part of our popular culture today, there are several good reasons why it can be also be referred to as Unpopular Culture!

 

Letter to The Editor

The editorial I chose to analyze is in The Arizona Republic Newspaper titled :

FIRE CLARENCE CARTER FOR CPS’ DERELICTION OF DUTY

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2014/04/24/clarence-carter-cps-fire-dps-report/8109709/

cartervideocps

Letter to The Editor :

First and foremost, as a mother of two, a hard working taxpayer, and someone who works with young special ed kids, I have to express my disgust and heartbreak at the reports of what has been going on in our child welfare system. How can this happen ? I find it inexcusable and extremely unfair that we can not somehow find the money the state of Arizona needs to keep our most precious and vulnerable citizens, our children, safe from neglect and abuse. But there always seems to be plenty of billions to send to foreign countries , most of whom despise us! Yes, Clarence Carter should be fired because he is at the top and supposed to be in charge, and his claim of ignorance is absolutely no excuse. Even if we chose to believe he was not aware of what has happening within the agency, he should still be held responsible and accountable for the mess, something that unfortunately never seems to happen in government these days !

I sent my letter to the editor and here is the link :

http://www.azcentral.com/opinions/sendaletter/letterwassent.html

saving az kids

Really? They might want to change their logo ! 😦

Movie Poster Comparison

I chose the movie King Kong to compare movie posters.

Kingkongposter     King Kong remake

The impressions I get from the movie posters when comparing are : The original movie poster from 1933 is more like a cartoon and the 2005 remake appears to be much more realistic, like it could be an actual photograph. The original poster shows a far fetched scene with King Kong on top of the Empire State Building with an airplane in one hand, and the famous object of the giant gorilla’s obsession , Ann Darrow, in the other. In contrast, The remake poster shows King Kong in the jungle and gives the impression that he is simply surviving with a beautiful  woman walking around fearfully in his vicinity.

The cartoonish characters element contributes to my impression that the original movie is complete fantasy and could never occur. The cartoon itself ,with King Kong grabbing the plane and the girl, while climbing The Empire State Building, gives the impression that King Kong angrily invaded human space and wreaked havoc on one of our most famous American cities. To the contrary, the element of the realistic looking pictures of the remake, as absurd as it might sound, contribute to the impression that even though it is not logical , that King Kong could actually be a reality. The setting of King Kong in the misty jungle also gives the impression that he was somehow torn away from the only home he has ever known, and that that King Kong is minding his own business,s and is the one who is going to be  removed from his habitat by uncaring humans.

Between the 2 posters, The aspect of King Kong’s magnificent size and scariness is consistent and has not changed , nor has the obvious need for the giant gorilla to keep close and protect the lovely lady he is fascinated with. The location setting has changed from the original poster where he is clinging onto a tall building, to a scene in the remake poster where King Kong is living in a misty jungle atmosphere. Both posters are consistent in the fact that they have very little verbiage or description about the movie on the poster, and rely heavily on the larger than life image of King Kong in comparison to a woman, to capture the attention of would be movie goers. Both posters consistently show the name KING KONG  in capitol letters, with the font on the remake poster appearing to be slightly more sophisticated looking.The original poster uses lettering large enough so you can see the names of the actors, but the remake has changed to much smaller lettering when listing the stars names , I believe they do this because the producers want to showcase that KING KONG is the star of the movie !

The original movie poster was designed to appeal to its audience by presenting it as a thriller, a monster type horror flick, kind of like Godzilla – something to be feared .The remake poster was altered to appeal to a more mature and level headed type of audience. I mean, who in their right mind believes that a giant gorilla could scale the Empire State Building with girl in hand?

A giant gorilla hanging out in a jungle setting oblivious to his impending doom is a far more believable scenario!

Everybody Googles !

The topic I chose to Google search was Childhood Obesity .

How many sources? 10 pages of results came up when I used this search term.

The top 2 results that came up are paid ads for Children’s Hospital.org and healthy children.org.

The other sources that came up are as follows :

The CDC.gov website that gives stats on the subject of childhood obesity ( I found this website to be quite credible and very useful in my research for my English essay about why sodas should be banned from public schools! ) Other results that came up on page 1 were for The Mayo Clinic , Web MD, The OAC ( Obesity Action Coalition ) , Medicine Plus, Wikipedia ( of course ! ) , The Leibert Open Access ( Advertising Forum )  The advertisement laden Atlantic online magazine article titled ” Beating Obesity ” , The Scientific American featured an article titled ” Consumption Junction :Childhood Obesity ” and is also looking for new paying subscribers,  and a report by Reuters ” Special Report: How Washington went soft on Childhood obesity. And then, I found it interesting that at the bottom of page 1, there were 2 more paid ads for : Wellsprings Camps , an “Effective summer weight loss camp” and an ad for ” Childhood Obesity Research ” which was actually an ad for the New York Academy of Sciences who consequently is looking to add members for support. All of the above was on page 1 !

Now for my My Google Scholar Search : I did not need to modify the search terms and when I googled the term: Childhood Obesity. I found the following results in order of top to bottom of page 1 :

A report titled ‘ Risks and Consequences of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity ” by RS Strauss by The Association for the Study of Obesity , An Allhealth.Org article and PDF titled ” Childhood Obesity: Public-Health Crisis, Common Sense Cure ” , ” Relation Between Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Drinks and Childhood Obesity ” by The Lancet with an HTML , ” Early Life Risk Factors for Obesity in Childhood” article and HTML via the NIH.gov site, ” An article titled “Metabolic Syndrome in Childhood ” HTML by 9med.net, ” Relationship of Childhood Obesity to Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors in Adulthood ” article and PDF by healthykids.org., “Childhood Obesity and Self Esteem” by RS Strauss of Am Acad Pediatrics with a PDF ,’ Breast Feeding and Childhood Obesity ” and ” Variation in FTO Contributes to Childhood Obesity and Severe Adult Obesity , both of these articles and HTMLs by nature.com ,” Parental Neglect During Childhood and Increased Risk of Obesity in Young Adulthood ” featured by The Lancet.

Once again there were 10 pages of results when I used Google Scholar .

All of the search results , including the top this time seemed to mostly all be informative articles by medical professionals or knowledgeable organizations . The most interesting thing I found is that there were no paid advertisements when I used Google Scholar, and in addition , most of the search results had either a PDF or an HTML available to the googler to the right of the search result. When I used just plain Google to search, I felt like half of the results were to try and get me to buy or subscribe to something , which I find pretty annoying !

In the future when I have my consumer cap on and need to purchase something , I will use Google.

online-shopper

 

However, when I am in need of some credible, no nonsense information either for work or for an assignment for school, I will definitely use Google Scholar!

google scholar