AARP AARP States Oregon

Non-Social Media

Group of multiracial young people sitting outdoors and watching down to his smartphones

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.

About AARP Oregon
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.