Have you noticed how the world is becoming totally digital all of a sudden? If you think about it, there really is no need to leave our homes anymore. We have thousands of television channels on tap, we can download music at the click of a button, we can do all our shopping online over the internet, we can chat with other people via email, text, social networking or on ‘Skype’ and who needs paperbacks anymore? We can download books and read them via e-readers! The only reason to leave our homes now is for different scenery and I’m wondering when that will become simulated – when will we be able to put on a mask, step into a room and suddenly be in virtual Africa? With games such as ‘Second Life’ (where you create a character, build a life online and are able to communicate with other people all over the world who are also living their ‘second lives’ in the game), I don’t think it will be long.
So is all of this a good thing? Yes, it is convenient. When I first had my son, I used online shopping to do my weekly food shop because it was so much easier then carting a screaming baby around a busy supermarket. The five pounds which it cost me extra was nothing compared to the trouble it saved me. I am also a bit of a social network sucker – I guess if you’re reading this, you are too! I think sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep in touch with friends and organise get-togethers. However, are these sites destroying our social skills? Gone are the days when we used to pick up a phone and actually speak to a friend or, God forbid, go and SEE them in person – now we simply ‘tweet’ them. The language we use in these social networking sites and in text messaging is also deteriorating. Standard English is being replaced with numbers and emoticons – I h8 it! :-(. What is this doing to our children? Will they grow up thinking that this type of language is suitable for everyday use and start using it at school? Is it the English language of tomorrow? I saw a child of about six the other day with their own mobile phone – is this really necessary? I really don’t think it is.
So by 2050, will we all be sat at home in an armchair with a vacant look on our faces whilst being constantly plugged into a computer? Will robots replace the people needed for manual jobs? Will the sound of children playing ball in the street be a thing of the past? At the rate things are going, who knows. Maybe we should rebel and organise an ‘anti-digital day’ where we switch off the TV, shove our mobile phones in a drawer, visit friends and send our kids outside to play. What a breath of fresh air that would be!