The World is a Stage

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How often have you said or heard lately, “How rude.”

"People have no consideration for others these days."

"Don’t they have common sense any more?"

How often have you sat in a restaurant watching a young couple, obviously on a date, with their heads down staring at their phones while they text? Whole families doing the same, with nary a word spoken.

Many people despair over what people are coming to and wonder if they are the only ones that think there is something socially wrong these days.

You are not alone. Social interaction today has deviated enough that studies are being done. A University of Michigan study showed that ‘we’re becoming less considerate,’ noting there has been a 40 per cent decline in being able to relate to the feelings and viewpoints of others. This started slowly about 30 years ago and is rampant today.

How often have you gone to a meeting where people won’t even let you finish your sentence, they run over top of you with their ideas or degrade you in front of others, without once considering not only how rude they were but that they were hurting you.

Well, that same study ascribed this lack of empathy to ‘an overall spike in narcissism, individualism and material self-interest.’ So, yes, we are becoming heartless, but why is that?

Some people could be going through a rough patch in their lives, be it their job, relationship or health, but they have no one to talk to about it, which would help to relieve their stress. But how could that be? People ‘talk’ intimately about their lives on Facebook, blogs or Twitter but that is in many cases where people today show off to each other about what they are capable of doing, it is not where they admit they have problems and seek help. People reading your words can’t see the pain in your eyes or hear the desperation in your voice when you write.

Rather than expanding their horizons today, people are pulling them in. Getting people to leave the house is becoming more difficult. Television used to be something a family did together for an hour or two in the evening. Today the television competes with computers, phones and video games, all of which, like a black hole, is not only pulling both children and adults into their homes but their own rooms, which becomes their whole world. We’ve all seen kids in the same room texting each other without a word being said. Some children don’t know how to talk to each other.

Did any parent really understand what they were doing when they allowed the electronic devices to become the babysitter? Parents don’t have to worry about where their children are, they know they are in their rooms on their devices. But they are not outside playing. They are not learning how to behave when playing with other children. Learning how to accept being picked last; learning how not to cry when they lose the game and be gracious when they win. The lessons on how to socially interact with others are learned in childhood. No wonder they need counselling when they start working.

Car companies are now advertising to children, telling them they can be connected to favourite online games or watch movies while in the car. Kids are transported everywhere today and it is one of the few places where parents are in a position of talking, teaching and getting to know their own children, yet they are watching movies or playing games.

It is so bad the government and other groups advertise that children need to play and urge adults to take the time to get to know your children. Think about that. Parents don’t even realize they are not being parents, for they are equally as involved with their devices as the children.

Did you realize how badly people are addicted to cell phones? A study out of Baylor University found that female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day interacting with their cell phones, surfing and sending 100-plus texts a day. The addiction is called nomophobia (no mobile phobia) and people are going to rehab for it. (It is like the compulsive shopping behavioral addiction.) The BBC reported that a study of 1,000 smartphone owning children, found 25 per cent were considered addicts. The song People says 'people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.' They weren’t talking about having 1,400 computer friends you allow to read your online diary, they were talking about people who can smile at you, touch you and hug you, all things that release endorphins in the brain and make you feel good.

So go to lunch or take a walk with a friend, or volunteer at the food bank, or at other local organizations that needs help. You should try helping others, it is one of the healthiest highs you can have and you can hone your social skills. 

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