Numbers don’t lie. Young adults send an average of 109.5 text messages a day or about 3,200 texts each month. They receive an additional 113 text messages and check their cell 60 times in a typical day and one average, college students spend about seven hours daily interacting with information and communication technology.
When I was growing up, the authoritative figures in my life tried to teach me restraint. The saying was, “moderation in all things, Allie.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’d say, and log back onto my computer, or call a friend back on the telephone, or plug the PS2 back up and start gaming, all of which lasted hours more! Restraint. It’s practically non-existent today. If you want to get wasted, all you have to do is google the nearest bar. If you want to have sex with a random stranger, there’s an app for that. Don’t know how to spell? Say hi to auto-correct. I have no patience when an individual my own age walks up and asks, “is ‘people’ spelled ‘e-o’ or ‘o-e’?” I just want to ask them what the heck they were doing in Spelling class when they were twelve. I get tired of hearing things from girls like, “I don’t understand why they wouldn’t hire me just because I can’t spell!!” or guys who “don’t subscribe” to the suit-and-tie approach to office work and get fired for being too casual. The media feeds us lies about how we should think, or how much we don’t NEED our education, or how schools are only a waste of time. Fifteen year old drop-outs still haven’t acquired a job that trumps McDonald’s by the time they’re twenty five because, well, they didn’t even finish high school. All because they wanted immediate satisfaction – they had no moderation. They wanted fun, fun, fun and no work. And society teaches us that this is acceptable! Apps, games, computers. Seven year olds owning iPads.
“You can watch tv for 30 minutes, Bobby, but then you have to go outside and play till dinner.” THAT was how I grew up! A few months ago I was hired as a babysitter for a night. When I showed up, the parents had the kid curled up on the couch with a bag of tootsie rolls and a dvd of Despicable Me. Trust me when I say, I LOVE THAT MOVIE. But I was really unimpressed when they told me that there was a stack of movies on the coffee table and a microwave dinner on the counter for the kid, and if he started screaming for something, just give it to him. At age 6, they were teaching him, probably unknowingly, that life should be all about doing the most convenient, most immediately satisfying thing. You’re bored? Here, have a movie and some chocolate. Why don’t we start teaching you early that candy and the media is the best cure for boredom? The child will grow up to be an overweight gamer, or an office assistant who sits in a chair all day and goes home to his parent’s basement and hangs out on internet chats to meet girls. It’s about immediate, constant satisfaction.
After all, with an app for everything, and so many ways to do everything without moving a muscle, why SHOULD we exercise moderation?