is technology killing us?

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This one goes down as some serious food-for-thought.  As you may know, Japan has been mired in a recession that has lasted for more than 20 years.  The nation is aging much faster than the U.S. and their population declined last year.  Financially, the nation has an enormous debt load and a crushing burden of providing resources to their retirees with a declining work force.  It is quite plausible that the world’s next financial crisis will start in Japan.

So with that as a back drop, consider this…

Japan’s under-40’s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships.  Millions aren’t dating and increasing numbers have lost interest in sex.  45% of Japanese women age 16-24 are not interested or despise sexual contact.  More than 25% of men 16-24 feel the same way.  They despise sexual contact.  What?

Is this a picture of what is to come in America?  Across Asia, Europe and America, people are marrying later or not at all, birth rates are falling, single occupant households are on the rise and young people in their mid-late 20’s are still living at home.

In Japan 61% of the unmarried men  and 49% of the women ages 18-34 are not in any kind of romantic relationship – an increase of 10% in just 5 years.  Another study indicated 1/3 of those under 30 had never dated at all.

They are saying they “don’t see the point of love and don’t believe it can lead anywhere.”  Relationships have become too hard.  Marriage is a minefield of unattractive choices.

Japanese men have become less career driven and less solvent financially.  Japanese women have become more independent and ambitious.  So, in short, the women are deciding they really don’t need men while the men are indifferent and non-motivated.  The sexes are spiraling away from each other.  They are turning to instant gratification with pornography, virtual girlfriends and anime cartoons.  Romantic commitments seem to represent burden and drudgery.  Young men are turned away by the huge financial burden and the expectations of the larger family.

Japan, as you know, is incredibly advanced technologically.  They are on the cutting edge of creating virtual worlds and online communications.  Their smart phone apps are the world’s most imaginative.  They have created a world where, frankly, it is just easier to escape into an artificial world than it is to deal with the hassle of real people.

Are we far behind?

I am deeply troubled by the advance of technology and its implications on American society.  Most nights we sit on our iPads and disengage from communicating with our spouses or kids.  Our smart phone is always at our side.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc.  Texting…oh, texting.

We have daughters that are almost 18 and 21.  We have spent years trying to teach them that texting isn’t communicating.  As hard as we’ve fought against the surging tide, we lost the war.  Our girls were the last to get phones in their grade and the last ones to get texting.  Our oldest didn’t start until she was 16 and yet today, she is a complete social media addict and she admits it.  We have seen firsthand that kids don’t want to pick up the phone and talk – instead – they try to handle confrontations, break ups, dates, etc. via texting.  They chronicle their lives on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  They measure self-worth by how many (and how quickly) “likes” they get to their latest Instragram.  When you post something and only 11 people like it and when Susie posts something and almost instantly 173 people like her post, your self worth takes a nose dive.  And then you open up her post and scroll through all 173 to see who they are and wonder why they aren’t liking your thoughts – or – why they don’t like you.

My daughters started this nonsense at 16.  Today, 2nd graders have iPhones and they text.  4th graders have Facebook and Instagram.  Can you imagine the cliques and bullying that now go on with 4th graders via their “smart” phones?

We’ve talked a lot about pornography and its devastation but can you imagine what it will do to a 4th grader empowered by his brand new iPhone 5S he just had to get for Christmas?  These kids are not emotionally prepared for the damage that this technology will do.  My 21 year old isn’t.  I’m not sure I am.

I shudder to think about myself as a 3rd grader with an iPhone.  I shudder to think about my teenage years with all those hormones racing and having unlimited internet on my phone and my computer in my room after my parents had gone to sleep.  Had I been exposed at 12-13 to what is out there today free for the taking…

Please men, I implore you, please take a look at this in your home.  Please.  As we start 2014, ask some tough questions.  Ask yourself how much you really need all this technology.  Do you really have to have it?  Do you and your wife sit and stare at your iPads every night?  Is any good coming from it?  What is this stuff doing to our families?  And as for your role as a Father, ask it.  Ask the tough question.  Does your teenage daughter really have to have texting?  Would she forever be a social outcast without it?  It is frequently said that “this is way this generation communicates.”  Ummm, no it isn’t.  What they are doing isn’t communication.  As for your teenage son or for that matter, your 8-9 year old son — please don’t give him a smart phone.  Please don’t let him have a computer or iPad in his room.  Please don’t assume he can’t get on the internet through the Playstation or Wii.  He can.

You have to fight for your family and I’m afraid, you’re going to have to fight a technological war.  To ignore this and just wish it away is foolish.

The article on Japan included this comment – “It’s too troublesome (when he’s asked why he doesn’t have a girlfriend).  I don’t have a huge salary to go on dates and I don’t want the responsibility of a woman hoping it might lead to marriage.”  Japan’s media has dubbed these men “soshoku danshi” which literally means “grass-eating men”.

Don’t be a “grass-eating man”.  Man UP and fight for your family.  Realize what is transpiring around you.  These are dangerous times.  LiveUP

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