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Non-Social Media

Group of multiracial young people sitting outdoors and watching down to his smartphones
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Back-In-The Day, in my late 30s, when I was a university professor, I frequently arrived at my classroom before class time. I heard the hum of voices of talking and saw the students grouped in conversation. Nowadays, at 87, when I take university classes, I often arrive at the classroom early, and hear . . . Silence. . . and see each student sitting alone at their desk, looking down at their cell phone. I turn in my wheelchair to look around and make a connection, but all heads are bowed. The screen trumps the self.



It’s not just the classroom where today’s millennials are screen struck. Hand-helds have invaded that most gregarious confluence of talking heads – the coffee shop. Over lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and the plain back diuretic, people used to jabber.

While there is still the low hum of some voices, there are many isolates - heads bowed, eyes strained, ears budded – sheltered from the crowd around them – alone together, literally and virtually.



Like invasive species, the scourge of the hand-held has infiltrated other generations, even octogenarians like me. Here in my Assisted Living Facility, I see grey hairs, wigged hairs, and no hairs swiping the photos of their grandchildren. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my four-year-old grandson is focused on a Disney movie. At least he’s not suckling.



Well, my land-line phone is ringing – must be another brontosaurs.

Dick Weinmann is an AARP Oregon Volunteer and our Assisted Living Facility (ALF) guru.

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