Isolation, Social Skills, Education and Technology
Since cellphones have turned into minicomputers, there has been a marked decline in social skills, an increase in Attention Deficit Disorder and a decline in reading. Social media, gaming, music , movies and online shopping have turned most of us into pleasure seeking addicts, with the attention span of gnats. By most of us, I'm talking about middle aged, middle class, educated people. What is it doing to the young, who haven't yet learned social skills and are in the process of being educated? At least, teachers used to have their undivided attention until cellphones were allowed into schools. Now the teacher has to compete with the magic of the internet, in which everything else seems boring. Students aren't making eye contact when talking; have earphones that completely isolate them; and are using social media as an exciting, often illicit substitute for social interaction. If DeBlasio pulls out the phones, the students will go into tech withdrawal (don't believe me? leave your cellphone at home today) and want the teachers to entertain them. They will find education to be boring and will issue their wrath on the poor fools that are trying to teach them. Every day, I see and hear students cursing, threatening and/or totally ignoring teachers who try to get the students to put away the phones. Nothing is done about any of it, all authority has been stripped from the teacher and the schools. This is due to Restorative Justice - in which the evolved student realizes the error of their ways through profound discussion. The students have figured it out and have no qualms about taking group selfies or watching a movie during class. If the teacher fails the students, the teacher is grilled and will be asked what he/she has done to remedy the situation.
The generation growing up with the current devices need time away from them to become educated and civilized. By civilized, I mean being able to hold a conversation, with eye contact and some modicum of civility. There are more devices on the horizon, that will totally immerse people into their own worlds - virtual reality - https://www.oculus.com/en-us/blog/ . This isn't the cartoonish VR of the 1980s. A brave new world that has arrived.