Obama took that selfie--a groupie, really--two hours into a four-hour ceremony that was full of dancing and music. He’d written and given a speech. He’d reflected, and he’d shared his thoughts. He’d surely allowed himself “uninterrupted time of reverie,” either at the service or before. But now he was sharing an experience with those near him, and that experience was made possible by a camera.
Turkle imagines that any interaction with technology somehow negates all the time spent doing other things. She also imagines that we must devote ourselves in only one way to every task: At a dinner table, we are only serious and focused on conversation; at a memorial service, we are only mournful. That is not the way we live. It’s never been the way we live. And that’s the beauty of technology, which Turkle cannot see: We can use it for all purposes, to express joy and sadness, to have long conversations or send short texts. We made it. It is us.
TURKLE CLAIM #5: THE YOUNG WILL SHOW US THE WAY I see the most hope in young people who have grown up with this technology and begin to see its cost. … A 14-year-old girl tells me how she gets her device-smitten father to engage with her during dinner: “Dad, stop Googling. I don’t care about the right answer. I want to talk to you.” A 14-year-old boy reflects: “Don’t people know that sometimes you can just look out the window of a car and see the world go by and it is wonderful. You can think. People don’t know that.” The selfie, like all technology, causes us to reflect on our human values. This is a good thing because it challenges us to figure out what they really are.
These quotes aren’t from teenagers who “begin to see [the] cost” of technology. They have grown up knowing nothing else. The change already came. What these kids are expressing is the joint frustration and wonder of youth, and nobody’s giving up their iPhones.
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