As much as I personally rely on technology (and you can see from my blog posts that I absolutely do), I also sometimes long for the days of answering machines, CDs, and encyclopedias.
Technology creates a demand for instant gratification: we must know the answers to our questions now, you must respond to my text or email now. We cannot just sit and wait idly by. I think back to middle school when I conducted research in the library, searching through book upon book, photocopying documents and even using the time-sucking microfiche, and wonder how our children would manage. For instance, if I tell my 1st grader son that I emailed a friend’s mom to set up a play date and I don’t hear back immediately, he will ask, did you text her? If he asks me an impossibly hard question to answer and I am unsure of the answer, he inevitably asks, can you look it up online?
Is it a surprise he acts this way? When I watch a movie and an actor looks familiar but I cannot place him, I pause, read his IMDB profile, and continue the movie, content in my newfound knowledge. When I have a mundane question for a friend, I do wait until I see her next time; no, I immediately text her, expecting a response within minutes. If she cannot respond at that exact moment, I know I will receive a follow-up text explaining her delay (“Sorry, I didn’t see this earlier, we went to the movies).
This is the world in which my children will grow up.