Long gone are the days when one needed to stop and ask a complete stranger for directions. There’s an app for that now. Thanks to GrubHub one no longer needs a phonebook to order a pizza, or even speak with an actual person for that matter. Cars can park themselves, Wikipedia has become our public library and iTunes is to the youth what Sam Goody was to the 90’s. There’s no argument that today’s technological advances have made our daily lives easier to manage, but at what cost?
At the risk of sounding old, I remember the days when summer vacation meant spending the entire day outside playing basketball until the streetlights came on. Sure my friends and I loved watching television and playing video games just as today’s kids do, but we belonged to an era where parents made their children go outside and play. There was no need for the NFL to create a Play 60 initiative to combat childhood obesity; kids used to play tackle football outside.
With rising concerns for the safety of children, more and more parents are opting to keep their kids indoors occupied with the latest video games and internet-streaming devices. But in doing so, parents are exposing their children to serious heath risks.
According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years. At the benefit of knowing where their children are, parents are opening up their kids to increased risks of heart disease among many other physical ailments.
Falling, scraping a knee and getting back up is a lesson Candy Crush can’t teach. And keeping children indoors doesn’t keep them away from stranger danger. Chris Hansen has proved that to us. If you have kids, this summer let them feel what it’s like to chase an ice cream truck for the first time. If you’re going to spoil them with ice cream, at least make them earn it.
Thanks to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook narcissism is at an all-time high. Around the world people are plagued with the delusion that they’re the center of the universe. Someone somewhere with no grounds of factual support think their opinion matters. And in the same moment some poor soul is posting a struggle plate with ambitions of being the next Master Chef. Never mind the fact that we shouldn't be giving out so much information about ourselves, it has become a societal norm for people to electronically document their life instead of truly living and experience it.
Let’s be honest, no one has 3,000 friends and if you ask me, you’re lucky to have a handful. The next time you’re out for dinner with an actual human being, put your smartphone on silent and repulse at the urge of Instagramming your meal. The next time you see a sunset, turn off your thoughts, focus and enjoy. And please, next time you’re at a concert enjoy the damn show you paid to see! There’s no need to post photos or take video, your brain will process those memories for you and if your followers really cared they would be at the very same show enjoying the moment with you.
Last but not least, I’d like to address the way in which we now consume music. When Napster jumped off I too pillaged the music industry for free mp3 downloads. Considering the fact I used to pay $19.99 for one good song on a garbage album is beside the point, the Internet devalued my sense of what music is really worth.
Buying a new album from your favorite artist should be an experience. Deflowering an album of its saran wrap, perusing the insert’s lyrics and credits, playing the album from beginning to end before judging, all pastimes that are now lost to many.
With attention spans dwindling, musicians releasing singles instead of albums to keep overhead low is the new trend. Record labels are no longer developing artists. The music industry has become a machine that signs fads to one song deals to minimize risk and maximize gain, and we the consumer are left with oodles of disposable music. I mean, who still does the Superman?
Music should be experienced and not consumed. We should want to support the people who author the soundtracks to our lives.
With more and more musicians choosing the independent route for the benefit of maintaining full artistic expression, how can I continue to justify my wrongs? Today I think I'll cop that new Dom Kennedy, I heard it's fire. If only I could spend other people's money.