Well, folks. It is official and remember, you heard it here first.
We are living in an electronic age. Shocking, right?
Smartphones, computers, tablets, and ebooks are ubiquitous. For those of you who don’t have a dictionary app on your phone, ubiquitous is a fancy-schmancy word for everywhere.
The Internet is at our fingertips and boy, do we use it. It has changed the way we go about our daily lives. We use the Internet to make airline and dinner reservations, play games, pay bills, monitor the temperature of our house, find a life-partner or even a date, look at our lab results, correspond with friends, family, and foes, and waste countless hours watching cute puppy videos on YouTube. Guilty as charged, Your Honor.
The way we communicate with others is drastically different than it was just a few years ago. We “talk” to our friends via FaceBook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog posts, email, and texting. Sure, we still pick up the phone, but now it is to get on the Internet in order to avoid having an actual conversation with an actual person.
They (I have no idea who the ‘they’ are) say we are entering the Brick and Mortar Store Ice Age. Why go to the mall when you can shop and compare prices online without having to leave the comfort of your La-Z-Boy lounger? Your purchase arrives on your doorstep practically as soon as you log-off and shipping was probably free.
I fly a great deal and I am still astonished to see that most people in the airport and on the airplane are staring at an electronic device. When I see someone reading a real book, I want to welcome them to the 21st century.
I am not saying that all of the above is a bad thing. This electronic age has helped propel rapid technological breakthroughs, reunited family members and old friends, and with the help of WebMD, we can now all diagnose our elbow cancer without the aid of a medical professional.
But not all of it is a great thing either. With this rather faceless way to communicate, bullies can become brazen, inappropriate comments or photos can be forwarded, and terrorists can learn how to make a bomb with a few quick keystrokes. I’m sure all of you are thinking, “Yeah, and Robin can write another boring blog post.”
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But read on to find out something you may not know.
An article in today’s paper was about a possible unexpected outcome of the invention of the Internet. But when you really think about it, it isn’t that surprising.
The journal Archives of Sexual Behavior published a study that showed that young millennials (those born in the early 1990s) are half as sexually active in their 20s than previous generations. Yes, that means they are more sexually inactive.
Various experts weighed in on the possible causes of this dramatic decline in romantic sex and just plain hook-ups. Let’s look at a few . . .
- Women are feeling more empowered to say, “Hands off, buddy,” from all of the high-profile sexual harassment stories in the news and discussions in school and at home.
- Because people are primarily communicating with electronics, they have trouble forming person-to-person romantic connections.
- Unrealistic expectations of body image cause women to shy away from sexual experiences.
- They were the first to grow up in the era of smartphones and are leery of getting close to someone in case they become cyberbullied and sexually harassed via any number of electronic outlets.
- Drunken college hook-ups are no longer viewed as a scandalous way to rebel. It is merely a tawdry way to lose your reputation and get an STD.
- They have been pressured by helicopter-moms to excel in school and then in their careers so are unfamiliar with having the downtime it takes to get to really know someone and fall in love, or fall in bed.
- When they are alone with someone, both parties are usually looking at their smartphone or computer screen.
- Porn is quicker and accessible.
- There is an increase in the use of antidepressants, which can deaden emotions and curtail sex drive.
- Their parents are from the generation of free-love and high divorce rates. Staying away from romantic relationships is safer.
I have to say that all of that makes perfect sense, but I suspect that the biggest thing causing the drop in physical sex is the Internet and the way kids now communicate. Staring into a boy’s eyes on his FaceBook page isn’t nearly as romantic as staring into the depth of his soul on the backseat of his parents’ car.
On a semi-related side note, there is a sign in my neighborhood advertising “Social Skills Classes for High Schoolers.” That is the problem with social media . . . ironically, it is killing real social skills.