Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma

Someone’s gotta lean on the horn.

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That child’s story has the worriment of a damaged adult on the edge. But she’s perhaps a hundred months old. 

She’s an Xbox junkie … a “gamer” … found sitting “in a puddle of her own urine … so hooked … she wouldn’t even go to the toilet …” When her father threatened to unplug her, she smashed him in the face.

There are now repair centers for such harmed children. They’re all over Japan and South Korea … and other Asian pockets of affluence. They have a quieter presence in Europe and America … but not for long.

It seems we’re gettin’ way ahead of ourselves.

Hyper-chugging down this technological speedway … and some of the most fragile passengers haven’t any seat belts at all.

At the moment “… it’s hard to know how many of us in this perpetually plugged-in society have a serious problem.” 

We’re outfitting kids with state-of-the-addiction gizmos we don’t even understand. Giving them super-powerful thingamajigs we think of as toys or time-amusers. But they’re not that at all.

Some professionals are candid with parents … “I tell them, you’re the drug dealer … You need to understand what you’re modeling to this child.” 

And parents nod furiously … and then okay the “must have” smart-phone upgrade … for the whole family.

It’s another “easier said than done.”

Yesterday … I watched a middle school empty out. Kids trudged up a steep hill with  elbows angled … their noggins buried in cell phones. That scene is repeated at the Little League field … or the school fair … and at popular family restaurants.

Even at the movies … the all-time great escape … theatre-goers must be reminded to pay attention to the big-screen escape … not the small-screen escape.

Think about that.

Maybe that’s the addiction. Escapism.

Maybe we’re all trying to find a comfortable place to hide. To get away from people. And problems. And whatever.

It just seems that lots of us are more comfortable elsewhere. Why?

We stuff these devices in our pockets and purses …  plop ’em on the dashboard … and fumble for ’em in our beds.


I’m a lousy moralist … I’m guilty, too.

Parents are told to caution their kids … but their message gets so muddled … like my teenage beer lecture long ago … delivered by my father as he sipped his second Martini.

That stuff is not lost on kids.

Parents think they’re handling it all … but we say one thing, and do another.

And kids see right through us.

Our “holier than thou.” bullspit doesn’t fool a soul.

We are adults … and most of us can slot them into our daily rhythm. But we own a much different past than these kids. It’s very blurry for too many kids. This stuff is a fixture of their lives … like light and heat.

And their escapades morph into escapes … separating these kids from the usual human experiences that round out a person.
It’s electronic cocaine.

Limiting the interactions that grow a personality … and refine a temperament. The personal involvements that help youngsters become socially savvy … so they can say the right thing at the right time … and not come off as social oafs.

Those things worry me a lot because … because personalities are what make us unique and attractive. At least once we grow up.

But this new madness should make for some especially uncute kids.

And an unbeautiful society.

And a scary prelude of what’s to come.

A nightmarish cosmos of thumb-pressing, pavloved critter-people unable to break free from their absorbing screen-world … and unable to hold even a nonchalant chit-chat.


We’ve barely popped the lid off this stuff … and it’s rolling out faster and faster and faster.

We are simply overwhelmed.  

And comfortably numb.

Denis Ian



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