Thursday, April 8, 2010
Most of us Mid Lifers will recall eating meals together as a family and then sitting down to watch a TV programme together. Perhaps we still do. Our parents will remember the days before TV when they might have gathered round the piano to sing songs, play card games and enjoy other party games as a group.
In many, perhaps most, households today these scenes are unrecognisable. Children eat meals at different times from their parents and often in their bedroom. They watch different TV programmes on different TV sets in different rooms. They may catch up with missed programmes on an iplayer on their laptop. They will certainly be using the internet, talking to virtual friends while the rest of the family are doing their own thing. In some cases, the parents may be sitting in the same room watching different programmes on their laptops or surfing the web using headphones.
What has happened to family interaction? What are the consequences of this breakdown in family gatherings? The members of the family may all be fine in themselves and the family may be a strong unit but how will this ‘individualisation’ affect people’s lives in the future?
We are already seeing a growth in the ‘I’ culture. People think of themselves first, others second. The concept of neighbourliness and helping others is fast disappearing. When the great names of the Industrial Revolution made their fortunes they ploughed much of it back into their communities – building civic buildings, improving the housing of their workers or setting up Foundations to help the poor escape from poverty. How many of today’s high earners think the same way? Not so many, though, as always, there are notable exceptions.
When you travel on public transport or walk down the street, how many people do you see wearing earplugs, listening to music? How aware are they of the ambient noise around them? They have very little interaction with others, content to move along in their own private worlds.
People are becoming more focussed on their own world, real and virtual and less concerned about the effects of their actions on others.
It is ‘Me’ not ‘We’ and ‘I’ not ‘Us’. Discuss …
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