Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Digital Detox (04/24/14)
TITLE: Diction Addictions
By Marlene Bonney
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They high-fived each other, leaving us exposed and naked as we anticipated life without our normal systems. After a period of mourning during which we cleaned up from the Digital Police ‘s ransacking, we gathered at the dining room table to discuss our options. No cell phones rang out zippy identification tunes, not text messages interrupted us, no downloaded music was throbbing through earphones and no cable television comforted our senses. We had to rely on the intelligences of the older members of our family, no computer-generated information at our disposal. We were forced to bring out old board and card games for entertainment instead of handheld game systems and to read physical books for pleasure instead of Kindle e-books. No texting, tweeting, e-mailing or spending hours blogging or updating and perusing Facebook entries, we were thrown into the Dark Ages when face-to-face interaction was the only means of communication. Replacing hash tags, smiley script faces and sound-like phonics for descriptions of our feelings, we slowly began to read the expressions on our faces, the body language and the inflections of speech that portrayed our sentiments.
Neighbors talked with neighbors, children learned olden-days games to replace the hours spent with video games, and the world slowed down. For those who could not adapt to these drastic changes, de-tox centers and schools popped up like so many mushrooms all over the land. There were even stations to teach individuals how to properly spell and “re-inventing yourself” dexterity workshops to strengthen hand muscles for handwriting skills.
Adolescents and teenagers suffered the most, many unable to survive in this new unfamiliar environment. Churches reached out to these misfits and had the highest success rate for readjusting these kids, as well as executive-type adults who were empty and forlorn and at a loss to know how to continue in their professions. They were introduced to a God Who does not change, to a Friend in Jesus, on Whom they could depend for everything. Bible sales increased, as people reattached to their souls, unencumbered by the digital devices that had, in many cases, attempted to fill the vacuum in their lives . . .”
I handed in my researched fiction essay to the Debate teacher for the extra credit I needed to make up for my poor performance in class. I had been using my cell phone under my desk during her lectures to text my girlfriend. The information I had gathered for Planned Digital-less-hood would be used in an upcoming District Debate Meet. The girl I had been communicating with had to take the opposite stance. Her approach was to tear apart my ideas by showing all the positive aspects of our digital world. She was not a debater by any shape of the imagination, looking more like a scared rabbit than an accomplished high-school senior, and she lost the contest, hands down.
The whole experience made me stop and think all on my own, though. My most cherished possession is my cell phone. Even my parents are forever dependent on their own cell phones. My dad has his attached to a belt loop; my mother is constantly losing track of hers and, like a baby without a pacifier, she scrambles to find it every few minutes. We rarely have the ideal “family time” because my siblings and I are forever interrupting attempts at such with our texting and replying to friends. I get frightened at the prospect of a real conversation with anyone I am with—it is so much easier to brush them off while we each communicate with others in cyberspace. I recently challenged a church youth group to give up electronics for one week.
Out of the twenty who signed the pledge, two were successful. The other eighteen ended up in the Emergency Room at our local hospital, and had hired attorneys from the newly-formed Digital Lawyers Association to sue me for emotional duress.
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