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(Insert Superman Theme Song Here) It's SUPERGORE!!!

Al Gore is for sure something else, although, my term of choice would not be near the same as his own. First he was a statesman, then came the politician. Next thing we know he is supposedly the “father of the internet”. Shortly there after he is a world renown scientist and prophet. Now he is a poet. I guess, in his eyes, he is the closest thing the liberals can get to a renaissance man. Check out his “fine” poetry here.

In the eyes of my parents and my grand parents, friends and neighbors I am not very old. And from my elders points of view I am sure the technological advances have been even more profound. But even through my eyes I can see my children’s world and future being quite different from my own due to technology. So here is a list of sorts as to what I have seen different, good and bad, for the youth of today and our future adults. It mostly has to do with computers, video games, and cell phones. The rest branches off of those three categories.

My Top 3:

1. Video Games

Video Games came out around the time I was in elementary school. And I got a Nintendo when I was in 4th grade. Sure it was a lot of fun, but nothing could top being outside with my friends come sun, rain, or snow. In fact, it didn’t even top having my friends over to play in the house with my toys.

Now I see in the vast majority of upper elementary school aged children on up that video games are a top priority. When my kids save up their allowance one of the first things on their list is a video game. As soon as homework is done, they want to play video games. And when their friends come over to “play”, guess what, they want to play video games.

Of course if it is nice out they get pushed out the door. And we now have what we call “game days” which is 3 days a week for 2 hours on each of those days. But my goodness, most of my friends and neighbors do not do this and I wonder to what extent kids now miss out on childhood due to the video game craze.

2.Computers

One of the best technological advances has been computers. Grant it they have been along for a while now, but when I was in elementary school we were just starting to get a few in the library. We would go and learn a few typing lessons on them, a math “game”, and once in a while we got to play one of the Atari-esc games once a month or so.

We didn’t have one at home until I was in 8th grade and we were a fairly well off upper middle class family. Even then, I just used it to type up school papers because the internet took so long it was a complete waste of time.

Now, it is common place for nearly every US home to have a computer with high speed internet access, and the same goes for every classroom. In some high schools the students are even assigned laptops. This is good for the most part. But does it take away the ability to physically write a term paper on your own? Or go to the local library and do research without the aid of the internet? I think it does. Why even go to the library when there are more than enough resources at your finger tips right in your own room at home? I wonder if writing and research without the aid of a computer will become a lost art.

3. Cell Phones

I for one can not believe that we lived without cell phones. I would be an absolute basket case not being able to reach anyone when I am out and about. The possibility of a flat tire, or emergency with no way to contact is just chilling. Oh, wait, weren’t there those big boxes everywhere called Pay Phones? Is it just me or have these just about completely disappeared?

Cell phones are a wonderful contribution to society for the most part. But now we have everything else on these little phones too. The internet on the phones is kind of nice, but what about when we are driving? Almost every time I see someone doing something stupid in their car they have a cell phone in their hands.

And then there is text messaging. I can see how this can come in handy, although I have never taken to it. To be able to just jot down to your spouse “Pick up milk”, or “Meeting at 9am”, would be useful. However, what about these parents who give their teens cell phones with Text Messaging capabilities? Some of these teens are sitting right by their parents texting obscene messages or planning parties using what they call “short hand” and none would be the wiser.

The Rest:

4. Internet

It has been a blessing and a nightmare all in one. With the above mention of lack of needing to research outside of home, there is also the issue of privacy. It has allowed for a dramatic increase in identity theft. It is also making newspapers nearly obsolete, and made pornography accessible to even a 7 year old. But, heaven knows I couldn’t keep on top of my bills without it.

5. GPS

I can foresee the need for knowing how to read a map and geographical knowledge going out the door. When you have a road atlas and a GPS which one are you more likely to use? One day I will probably get out my map and my kids will say, “Mom, just use the GPS.” It may even put an end to using Map Quest.

6. Proper Spelling and Grammar

I suppose this could go into the “Computer” category, but I think it is important enough to have its own. With everything we do being on the computer and all of the programs having their own spelling and grammar checks, it will soon be a rare thing to find someone that can write on their own and have little to no mistakes.

7. 35mm Camera Film

Almost everywhere is going to digital developing now. If you have a camera that take 35mm film, you may want to consider investing in a digital. I went to Walgreen’s to have some old film I found developed and they said I would have to send it away because no one does in-store film developing anymore! Not to mention, photo albums are almost a thing of the past with most of us storing all our photos online or on our computer itself.

8. Phone Books

This may be just me, but I have noticed that lately I rarely pick up my phone books. They sit on top of my refrigerator to only be moved to the garbage when a new one comes the following year. This is because I have gotten to where I just type in what I need to find on the internet and…there it is. So, I think phone books may not have such a bright future.

9. News Papers

I have quite a few friends that have been laid off of news paper printing company jobs lately. I think a lot of it is due to the vast amount of news we can access on the internet. Why read one partisan news paper when you can have access to many?

10. Innocence

With the desensitization of our children and teenagers through television, internet, text messaging, and video games; we can see the innocence of youth slipping away at younger and younger ages. I see young children in rate R movies, playing rated M video games, and watching horror films on TV. Is it any wonder we have children getting pregnant at 12 years old? Doing drugs at 10? Or does it really take a lot of thought to figure out why they are joining gangs, running away from home, having ambitions of being porn stars? No, of course not, when you take a step back a see that we are letting their childhood slip away into a world of electronic violence and indecency completely unsupervised and guided it is to be expected.

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