“A Nation Distracted”

On my walk home just now, I came across a kid skateboarding while talking on a cell phone. He was maybe 10 years old. He would skate forward a few feet, and then turn his board around and skate toward me. Then go forward again. All while talking on the phone. I tried to make eye contact with him so he wouldn’t mow me down. I was unsuccessful. But I escaped unscathed.

One of the reasons I am anti-technology is that I feel like it is making people scatter-brained. Someone talks to me while checking her phone for texts. I know she is only half-listening to me, if that much. Someone walks ahead of me and then comes to an abrupt halt while checking his phone…must he walk and check the phone at the same time? Why not wait until he is stationary to check the phone??

I read a few interesting articles in Utne Reader yesterday about how distracted we have become, and how to work on focusing your attention. I nodded my head when I read this statement, “Amid the glittering promise of our new technologies and the wondrous potential of our scientific gains, we are nurturing a culture of social diffusion, intellectual fragmentation, and sensory detachment.”

It’s kind of scary that kids today are growing up in such a distracted, technology-based, instant-gratification culture. A quote from one of the articles: “Meanwhile, nearly 60% of 15-year-olds in the United States score at or below the most basic level of problem solving. Many high school students can’t synthesize information or express complex thoughts.”

Yikes. Here’s a link to “A Nation Distracted.” And here’s one to “The Focused Life.”

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