“What are you doing girls?” I asked the twins.
“Shhh Dad, we’re connecting,” came the distracted reply.
They were sitting in the living room heads burried in the Nintendo DS consoles they’d got for Christmas, playing the same game, together but apart. On one level the remote interaction, using portable electronic devices to communicate and collaborate in real time, is a really important skill for them to develop — on another it’s worryingly antisocial and all consuming. Trying to get their attention while they’re immersed in a game or engrossed in a wireless instant messaging chat with each other (even though they’re in the same room) is disturbingly difficult.
It’s a sign of the times… technology is bringing us closer together, but at the same time its pushing us further apart, diluting the need for real human contact.
Via the internet it’s now easier than ever to connect, share and communicate via media that by their very nature transcend physical barriers like geography and time zones. Always on, high speed access to the internet is fundamentally changing the way a whole generation of people do everything, from Christmas shopping to chatting with their grandma on the other side of the world.
The rise of the internet to become a dominant force in practically all of our lives is unprecedented. According to Internet World Stats in June 2008 there were a staggering 1.46 billion people online. That’s 21% of the human population — and it’s still growing at a phenomenal rate! Even if you don’t own a computer, have never sent an e-mail, and never want to, the influence of the internet in your life is profound. How so?