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I Don't Want to Share
May 9, 2012 - Michelle Oliver
My education is in Music Therapy which is a double major of music and psychology. I have had a life-long curiosity about why people do the things they do. A close friend once told me “people are people and they do people things”.
One area of greatest curiosity was how does a person develop their sense of right and wrong - where and when do they find that moral compass that will direct the choices they will make - how does a person either develop or NOT develop a conscience, etc.
Yeah, I know. Weird. While most American teenagers lie awake at night thinking about what they were going to wear the next day or who they should confirm as a friend, it was the aforementioned questions that kept me awake in high school.
So, what’s keeping me awake these days (nights)? That’s pretty much a rhetorical question because I really am sleeping quite well, thank you, but my “WHY” gene has kicked in and I’m trying to find some answers. Here’s the situation:
A few nights ago I went in to check on my kids during the night. Yes, my children who are still at home are 16, 18, and 23 and I still check on them at night. While my 18 year old daughter would say that I was “creeping on them”, I think most mom’s will understand.
When they were young my kids would keep a favorite item under their pillows - toys, souvenirs, special awards, collectibles, and the perpetual tooth. With six kids you know we have single handedly funded the Tooth Fairy’s IRA. So, what does a mom find when she slides her hand underneath a 16, 18 or 23 year old’s pillow?
A phone. An itouch. A kindle. A laptop. To quote my teens, “Like, Really??”
And then my curiosity gene kicks in and I begin to wonder what are the long-term psyche forming consequences of living “constantly connected?”
As a kid I could escape, within certain parameters that my parents allowed, to any number of quiet, private or even isolated spots around our home in the country. I could “get away” from the world and have time to think, dream, ponder, meditate without interruption or intrusion. This was possible, frankly, because we had one phone and it hung on the wall beside the doorway that led from the kitchen to the living room - which meant absolutely no privacy when you were talking on the phone, but that’s a topic for another blog.
I don’t want to “be connected” all the time. Or, more honestly, I don’t want other people to feel that they have a right to me and my time every flippin’ second of the day. I want to know that I have control over how, when, where and with whom I share my life.
As a young child and teenager I was afforded a certain psychological feeling of privacy because I was physically removed from the phone, TV and radio more than I was exposed to them. This happened because of the mere simple fact that you couldn’t physically take those things with you. I wonder what the psychological and emotional ramifications will be for our kids who are growing up in a world where they are “constantly connected.” It's like they have an invisible Mental umbilical cord that never ever allows them to be completely free from invasion into their time and emotional / mental space.
Specifically I think of my teens and my grandchildren, and wonder in a day of cell phones, constant video-feed websites, stupid reality TV shows, laptops, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and many more means of which I am totally oblivious - I beg the question “Do we have to share EVERYTHING???!!!”
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