I read an article in the UK Telegraph a couple days ago entitled “Women Blame Blackberrys and iPhones for Poor Sex Life,” about the issue of modern internet-phones distracting people’s husbands in the bedroom. I mean, Blackberrys and iPhones are definitely taking a little away from relationship intimacy these days, but I think it’s silly to blame it on the men. Men, stop checking your Blackberrys while your little lady waits in vain for your full attention! No. Women are just as guilty of this– but it is becoming a problem.
I know that I get really annoyed when I am in a conversation with someone or at dinner or sitting around a living room drinking wine and they check their email on their phone– I find it insulting and worrisome. Really? Am I boring you so much that you would rather see what’s going on on the little screen on your phone then focus on this conversation? Then I get all nostalgic for the days when people would sit around on their porches, talking, drinking, knitting, churning butter, whatever it was they did, without any form of cell phone or computerized distraction. Once the conversation dispersed, people would go home and read their books for entertainment. Seems much healthier than the way things are now, doesn’t it? Not to mention much more romantic.
Unfortunately, I’m just as guilty of the computer addiction. I sit at work all day staring at a computer screen, wishing I were outside enjoying the beautiful Spring weather. Then lunch break happens, and as I step out the building, I call my mom. Then the work day ends, I get on the bus and start playing Boggle or Scrabble on my iPhone to pass the time on the ride home. I get home, plug my computer back in, and check it and my iPhone periodically thoughout the night to see if I got any more emails, to see what the weather’s gonna be like tomorrow, to make flight reservations, to search for adoptable dogs, to check out my fourth grade teacher’s new pictures on Facebook. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be content to sit in a park with my book and a blanket?
I find it alarming, and I think internet addiction is going to be the next alcoholism. I think we’re going to have to be really careful to coach our kids to spend at least as much time doing actual physical activities and bonding with people in person as they do texting, gchatting and playing video games. It’s bad for our mental health as well as our physical health– we don’t know what kinds of cancers we’re exposing ourselves to through laptops and phones and the whole wireless environment. I actually just googled “man cancer testicles laptop,” and the first three links that came up were all the same panicked question: “Will resting a laptop on my lap cause testicle cancer?!”
What’s funny and ironic about this is that this man is so worried about the connection between laptops and testicle cancer that he probably put his laptop on his lap to type in that question. The internet may be slowly killing us, so let’s get on the internet to find out all the ways that can happen!
I’m not sure what to do about the impending cancer, but I think at least the intimacy issue can be solved if we just sit down with our friends and significant others every once in a while and say, “Tonight we’re gonna ditch our phones and computers and just enjoy hanging out with each other.” Maybe we could go for a walk and leave the phone at home, or just put it on silent once we get home from work so we’re not tempted to check it every time we hear a text or email come through. We may never return to the days of churning butter on the porch, but at least we can try to unplug ourselves for a couple hours a night. Right??