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August 03, 2006
How cell phones are killing our confidence
Disney is harnessing technology to help parents monitor kids. And what happens when the battery dies or the kid ventures into a wireless dead zone? Fear, and in some cases, panic.
We have age-old psychological methods to protect us from our fears, or at least to help us cope with them. They're like an immune system. And as we grow dependent on communications technology to assure us that things are OK, our inborn defenses wither away. At least that's my theory. The result: We fret as we wait for our children to answer the phone or respond to a barrage of text messages. And kids, who in previous generations would disappear from the map for weeks at a time, miss out on untethered freedom.
Very good point, Steve. Cell phones do it for me too. If I get in a car sans cell phone I find myself worried that I might break down. But it doesn't have to be that way. It's easy to forget that only recently cell phones have untethered us. What I mean is, they might allow kids to go places their parents previously wouldn't have permitted, given they didn't have a way to reach them. And you can drive that hunk of junk car without worrying too much about where you will get stuck if it breaks down, you can always call a cab.
On another note, not to be a stickler with the psychology stuff, but fear tends to act more as an immune system than a parasite (exception: anxiety disorders), keeping us safe from what truly might harm us. But, the fact that our reliance on this new tech has fostered all these new anxieties is a great observation.
Posted by: Aidan at August 3, 2006 11:36 PM
three days after i got my first cell phone i was riding my bike through the east river park well after dark. not a good idea. a gang of punk kids threw eggs at me from an overpass. i turned around and went back. they were waiting for their next victim. they taunted me. i stood my ground, pulled out my new cell phone and just pretended to call the cops. they scattered. i was drunk with power that night, my friend.
Posted by: schadenfreudisch at August 7, 2006 11:09 AM