Monday, October 7, 2013

Paul Virilio, "Open Sky," Part One

Woah. This reading was very heavy on the technical terms and dove right into concepts that I knew very little, if anything, about. I will (try to) analyze one piece of information from the article that I understood and found interesting.

The Breakdown of the Family Unit

Virilio blames the "technological evolution" of the new convergence culture for the breakdown of the family unit. While many would argue that it is the new era of liberated values and looser morals (in the younger generations) that causes families to grow distant and fall apart.

Technology is to blame because:

-Globalization- As the world gets smaller, we feel the need to reach out farther, thus ignoring the ones closest to us. We can instantly chat with our friends across the state instead of paying attention to our family, and in the teenage years, this is unbearably tempting.

-Less Talking- In instances where face-to-face talking was inevitable, like car rides and waiting rooms, we now have an array of other options. Instead of chatting in the car, kids can now play games on their phone or text friends.

-Skewed Priorities- I think we can all admit that it is nearly impossible to ignore our phones. No matter how important a conversation is, when my phone goes off my eyes immediately dart to it. Especially when this goes to extremes, it can be very damaging to relationships, and eventually deteriorate the family.

Technology is NOT to blame because:

-Demoralization- The more recent generations have had decreasing moral values in the past decades, so it is their loose morals that explain the breakdown of the family. Teen pregnancy (as glorified recently by shows like Teen Mom) is hard on families, and often leads to single parenthood. Also, rising divorce rates means that more children are being raised by grandparents or third parties.

-Other Options: On Saturday night, when a family could go out together or stay in and play a board game, society now offers many different entertainment options for all ages.

-Increasing Demands- With a bad economy and increasing demands in the workplace, parents are forced to stay at work longer and remain more distracted when they are home. This again leaves children to be raised by nannies or others, and can build resentment towards their parents.

Do you find that you have become more distant from your family since you've gotten a smart phone? Or do you feel that it is society that has been separating families?

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