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My View: Technology strains human relationships

By Angie R. Lucarini

The other day, my daughter pulled out a book and looked at me in a strange way. She then held up the book and asked, “What’s this, Mom?”
I looked over and couldn’t believe my eyes. The book in question was a phone book. It was in that moment that I realized, why would my 10-year-old daughter know what a phone book was? In her world, it is pretty much obsolete.  Simply put, there really isn’t a need for one at her age.

We are raising a generation that relies only on technology. Soon, there won’t even be phone books. Hardly anyone uses them now. The same could be said about books in general. I rarely see anybody picking up a book to read. Rather, we are all glued to our smartphones, pads and laptops.

OK, so technology is really convenient and fast. I, too, use it all the time. But is it healthy for us to depend so much on these technological devices?

What happens if there’s a worldwide power outage? People would be lost. Many of us would not know how to travel without the GPS that we so love. In order to reach our destination, we might actually have to pull out a map. Dare I ask if our youngsters have ever laid their eyes upon one, were it not for the occasional use of one by a teacher, using it when pertinent to subject area?

Finding out what movies are playing, along with starting times for each, may very well leave young people clueless. It may sound crazy but let’s face it, we depend on our electronic devices way too much.

There’s something special about picking up a real book, sitting down in a comfy place and reading it. I remember as a child enjoying books like “Little House on the Prairie.” I read every one of the books in the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d go up into my room, sit on my bed with a blanket and read for hours – cover to cover. When the book was finished, I felt so satisfied. I had the feeling of being taken away to another place, and learning new and interesting things. I was intrigued with the various ways in which people lived, spoke to each other and respected one another “once upon a time.”

There is something to be said about our libraries. Children learn a great deal and feel a sense of ownership when they get a library card. It gives them a measure of independence, responsibility and intelligence. Think about it. When children get their own library card, it enables them to have a world of information and education at their fingertips.

I once read Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, “Fahrenheit 451.” In it, books were no longer allowed – they were burned. Rather than becoming educated, informed and prone to questioning society or laws, people were fed entertaining, mindless propaganda. In doing so, these distractions kept a communist-like regime.

With new technological advances growing daily by leaps and bounds, I can’t help but wonder if we are bound to lose the crux of human relations.

It is true that we communicate with people every day at the push of a button. However, the personal benefits and value of sitting down person to person, and looking at facial expressions, body language and all, seems to be getting lost in our wireless world.

Angie R. Lucarini, of Niagara Falls, is a panelist for magazine, and also writes for In Good Health newspaper.

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