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Online Dating – Get Specific


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Valentine’s Day is the one time we think of romance the most. For those of us in happy fulfilled relationships, this is a day to honor the moments that brought you two together. For those who are not in relationships and want to be, today’s technology offers many options to find love.

The Internet has become a major source, and hope, for finding romance and relationships (or whatever type of relationship you are looking for).

A decade ago, only a few dating sites existed and catered to a more general audience. Sites like Match.com or Matchmaker.com would amass enormous databases of people from all walks of life. That presented a small problem. People were often on their own to discover about the other person. We judged the person who we wished to date based on pictures and a few general details. Then the couple would find out things about each other that were not so accepting. As a result, people were getting together, going out on many first dates only to continue with first dates with numerous people. Months and years would go by with frustrated daters without a relationship. That game has changed. Now there are dating websites specific to ‘who you are and what you are looking for.’

The first step is knowing yourself and the frame of mind you are in. For me, I was looking for a woman who would be a good wife with moral values, believes in God, wanting children, with conservative lifestyles. In other words, I was looking for the Leave it to Beaver type of family.

Years before that, I was dating left and right judging a woman based on looks, excitement, and the full package. When I decided to look for a woman with ‘wifely’ qualities as opposed to ‘girlfriend’ qualities, the game changed for me. The Law of Attraction says one will attract based on who you are and your state of mind. So, I changed myself from being a constant dater to a man who wanted to be a family man.

I joined E-harmony and found that it provided me with a choice of women who shared the same goals I did. After about 3 dates with different women, I met Liz. We married in 2007 and are expecting our first child in February 2012. We are merged as one in philosophy, lifestyle, goals, and family.

I know of many good friends who found success from E-harmony, but not wanting to be a promo piece for E-harmony, it would be safe to say that I also know of some not-so-success stories. Isn’t that just life?

The benefit of today’s dating world is that dating sites are specific. So again, know who you are and use a dating site that attracts the relationship you want. However, there is one site that I will recommend the most for finding that someone – mentioned at the end of this article.

The most popular sites are (1) E-Harmony, (2) Match.com (3) PlentyofFish.com and (4) Perfectmatch (5) Spark.com and (6) Chemistry.com. These sites have huge databases of people and basically leaves it up to you to play the game until you find someone who clicks.

Now there are dating sites for those who wish to share a religion, lifestyle, and hobby. To find a list of these sites, go to http://www.alldatingwebsites.com/dir/specialized-datingsites. The best research is a search on Google. Type in your interests and then the word ‘dating’ (ie. Christian Dating or Spiritual Dating).

The hobby websites I found are:

  1. Equestriansingles.com for horse enthusiasts.
  2. DateACowboy.com – For the westerners who wish to roam the range
  3. AstrologyDating.com – For those who strongly feel that the stars tell about the other person. This common practice in arranged marriages, which by the way, have a divorce rate of 10%.
  4. AlikeWise.com – For people who share a love for books
  5. 123 Hitch.com – For people looking for marriage…NOW! Whew, good luck
  6. 420 Dating.com – For the smoker couples

Then there are religious sites catering to Jewish (JDate.com), Christians (EquallyYoked.com), and Islam (MuslimA.com) singles. Those are well known. But how about these ones:

  1. Pagan-dating.com
  2. Goth Match.com
  3. AscendingHearts.com – For the Metaphysically inclined.

Then there are the twisted ones (well, at least twisted to us)

  1. VampireSocial.com
  2. Date A Cross Dresser.com

There are the ones I find unfortunate because it has more to do with desire and playing games. I won’t mention the website addresses but there are dating sites for those who will cheat on their spouses, those seeking one-night stands, or sugar daddies. To me, these sites have nothing to do with Valentines since it does not promote healthy relationships. But to each his/her own.

Dating sites have generated combined revenues in the 100’s of millions of dollars. However, the one website that I recommend the most is actually not a dating site at all.

MEETUP.com – No Matter which dating site you use, no matter how good your profile is, the online profile is no match for getting to know someone in an environment that promotes interaction. Meetup.com promotes socialization of like-minded people at social gatherings. You may get lucky, you may not, but it’s a great way to create new friends. To me, friendship is the first step to a long lasting relationship.

May you all find love.

By Jim Hague
www.webtipstv.com
FB: www.facebook.com/webtipstv

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Online Profiles Are Important for Love and Business


Well it’s that special time of year again. For those of us fortunate enough to be in a happy relationship, Valentine’s Day’s a day of honoring the spark that brought couples together.

My wife and I will probably go to ‘Dave and Busters’ at the Ontario Mills Mall. Not the most romantic place, but it was the site of our first date. Nearly 24 months later, we married.

How did we meet? A little website called ‘Eharmony’. How did we know enough to give each ther chance before we even set eyes upon each other? It was our profiles.

As a small business owner I have my profile on various websites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Plaxo, and Craig’s List. I meet potential clients at Starbucks or Coffee Bean. How did we know enough to give each other a chance to do business? It was our profiles.

That’s right, the internet is the place to be when trying to find new relationships, be it in business or romance. It’s all in the profile

The issue with online profiles is the competition. Everyone is doing it! If you don’t have a profile somewhere, you are like that one dark house ina neighborhood block with no Christmas lights while the rest of your neighbors’ homes are as bright as the stars. There are literally thousands of social media websites out there to generate interest for your goods and services. Here are some tips that can help your profile stand out more so than the others.

Be the customer you want to attract

Before you begin to contemplate on a profile, ask yourself who are you looking to associate with? Are you looking for upper class movers and shakers; the start up business owners; or those poor artists, musicians, and actors with little or no money. Whoever the audience you are targeting, that information must be conveyed on your profile. In romance, it’s said that opposites attract’. Just ask the divorce attorneys. In business, opposites do not attract, like minds do.

Your Profile Picture: Recent and Decent

If you are a white collar professional then upload a picture of you in business suit.  If you are a white collar professional representing blue collar or lower in come workers… upload a picture of you in business suit! Represent your profession before you represent your clientele. If you are a cook then wear a chef’s outfit. A police officer, wear a uniform.

Your smile should be welcoming, like you are ready to shake hands. Look right into the camera, stand straight, and display confidence. Thefield-of-view for most pics should be from shoulder length on up. Look good because you never know who’s looking at you. While it’s not necessary have professional quality photos (though I recommend it), the secret to good profile picture is good lighting. A dark picture subconsciously turns people off. Women, if you show more skin then necessary you may attract the wrong crowd.

Finally, do not post a picture from the past. All pics should be recent and decent. In romance, this is taboo and will cost you a second date, maybe even the second minute. In the business world, when you lie about your picture, how honest are you in business?

Your Bio or Professional Summary: The Three Paragraph Rule

Keep the bio short and to the point. In a business profile, write more about what you have to offer to a customer more than about yourself. I like the three-paragraph rule. The first two paragraphs should highlight your career.

I have been in web design and internet marketing field since 1996. In that time I have produced over 400 websites and over 90% of my clients are on the first page of the Google search engine. Visit my website, www.crystaldi.com.

 

    My company successfully employs 20 people. In 2002, we won anaward for

    outstanding achievement for a children’s website in www.gotfossils.com.

   We specialize in all websites, ecommerce, database, and SEO. 

 

Then finally, the last paragraph should list extracurricular involvement and your education, so as long as it involves business.

    I am a self-taught web designer but do hold a BS Degree in Liberal Arts from

   Arizona State University. I am an ambassador for my local Chamber of Commerce.

    I also enjoy teaching students the art of web design.

Your Portfolio or Resume:
For my work in web design, a smart customer will look at my portfolio. The more projects I list, the better I look. List all work activities performed over the years so as long as it ‘pertains’ to your current business. If you changed careers, list activities for your current career first. I was a microbiologist 14 years ago and have not worked in that field since…thankfully! My prospects may not find that information helpful so why waste their time reading and my time writing material that does not ‘pertain’.

List all professional groups you are involved with that‘ pertain’ to business or include business people. For example, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus will look great on a profile. On my Linked In profile I listed my being freemason. Now the Masons are not a business group, but many of the nation’s top business leaders are masons.

List your honors and awards that ‘pertain’ to your business, even if it was achieved years ago. When writing your accomplishment, show pride in your work, but don’t brag or put down your competitors. No one likes arrogance, be it business or romance.

Post Recommendations and Testimonials.

Finally, what other customers say about you is the final icing on the cake to land a project.

Call your clients, have them email you a testimonial, and post it up. Post several testimonials but don’t overdo it. Make sure you list the person’s first name and their positions.

Of course in romance getting testimonials from former companions may lead to more former companions.

If you have any questions, email me at info@webtipstv.com or visit my website at www.crystaldi.com.

 

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Protecting Your Kids from Online Predators


by Jim Hague,

CEO, CrystalDI (www.crysaldi.com)

The predator has one goal and that is to have an intimate physical experience regardless if it’s against the child’s will.

When
a kid (anyone under the age of 17) or young adult is molested, the
impact cannot only destroy the innocence of a childhood, but causes life
long scars that may never heal.

Kids
experiences shame, guilt, and low esteem. Many experience intimacy
issues themselves or become sexually aggressive. Regardless, the
predator is a monster and should be treated as such.

We
can sympathize the fact that many predators were victims themselves.
Sometimes it may be necessary. After all, these people need help since
they have been victims themselves. However, the minute they act-out on a
child, they should get help ‘after’ they have the received the
punishment.

Unfortunately, the predator has found a new tool in addition to their deranged mind…the Internet.

Weather
it’s a predator or a sexual addict, the Internet has become a haven for
those who can’t help but lurk after the innocent. To understand how to
protect your child from predators we must understand the mind of a
predator.

On
screen these predators can make themselves into anything they want.
Predators can be a 40-year man interacting with a 12-year-old girl and
know exactly what to say. They become your child’s best friend and build
the type of relationship that child has always wanted. That predator
will listen, offer advise, and build enough trust to the point where the
child will share the most intimate details of their lives, like phone
numbers, addresses, and eventually pictures. The child, unaware that
they are being hunted, may grow to value online relationships over the
reality of their family and friends.

Predators
know the lingo and the popular trends of the younger generation. To say
that they are wolves in sheepskin is an understatement. In the
Internet, the sheepskin is a username. Instead of open fields where the
sheep graze, the Internet offers chat rooms and social networking sites.

It’s very challenging to catch a predator at first because they hide behind their online profiles.

Protecting your child from the potential of being victimized is not only our jobs as parents, but as human beings.  There are some signs you should look out for:

 

  1. Talk
    to you kids about the dangers of online predators and encourage them to
    communicate with you. Don’t let your child have an online profile
    without first taking to them. 
  2. Limit your child’s participation on too many social media websites. Allow them just one, like Facebook. 
  3. Most
    social networking websites has a minimum age limit of 13 years old. Do
    not let you child create online accounts by lying about their age. 
  4. If
    your child is of age, oversee what they write be aware of check their
    list of friends. Ask them not to accept any friend request unless they
    know who the other person is. 
  5. Control
    their emails. For young children, make sure to create emails in which
    you copied on all their correspondence. Do not allow your kids to use
    their private emails for use of social networking. 
  6. Always know your child’s username and password. Go into their account and make sure that all interactions are safe. 
  7. Make
    sure your child does not upload revealing pictures of themselves that
    show too much skin. Teenage girls are most at risk for attack by
    predators. 
  8. Look
    for subtle signs such as (1) your child is quick to log on to the
    Internet especially at night or (2) your child quickly switches screens
    when you enter the room. 
  9. Have the computer in common room. A child who is involved with an online relationship with a predator wants privacy. 
  10. Obvious
    signs of your child being involved with a predator are (1). Child
    receiving and sending sexually explicit pictures or emails (2). The
    predator sends gifts as a way to lure your child. 
  11. Use online parental controls like the ones built into Windows 7 or Vista.

    Do a search on ‘parental controls’ and you will have plenty to choose from.

If you suspect that the person your child is communicating with is a probable predator, then gather the necessary materials:

  1. Printouts of conversations
  2. Screen captures
  3. Explicit photographs found on your child’s hard drive.

Gather all materials on a disk (or bring the computer itself) and report to police.

The reason why kids value online relationships is because they may be lacking a valued relationship at home and school.  In
the news we heard about young people committing suicide. The reason for
this is because the real world is too difficult to handle for some with
low self-esteem or relationship issues. The virtual world allows such
person to re-create himself. The virtual world is less painful and all
are equal.

So never ever scold or punish a child for attracting a predator. It is not their fault, it’s the fault of the predator.

The predators know this. Now you know this.

Using this article (as well as others) I hope we do something about this.

 

 

Jim Hague

Comments can be sent to jimhague@hotmail.com

www.webtipstv.com

www.crystaldi.com

http://www.webtipstv.com/sharing.html

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Inspirational Quotes


January 28, 2011
Don’t be satisfied with being good at your job. Be the best, and you’ll be indispensable.

Experts have consistently found that after a certain point, money ceases to be a motivator. Even though you may not yet have reached that point, if you are honest with yourself, you will probably find that money is only one of many considerations. When asked if they would continue doing what they do even though it didn’t pay well, most highly successful people reply, “Absolutely. I wouldn?t change a thing. I love what I’m doing.” One of the surest ways to climb the ladder of success is to choose a job that you would do even if you didn’t earn much at it. When you are working because you like what you do, the money will follow. You will become such a rare commodity that others will compete for your services — and pay you handsomely for them.


January 26, 2011
The man who does his job precisely as he would do it if he owned the business may see the day when he will own that business or a better one.

The best-managed companies are those in which management creates opportunities for employees to own a piece of the business through various types of stock-ownership programs. Management has found that when individual employees are also owners, they are more loyal, more creative, and more cost-conscious. They also work harder and are more responsive to customers. If you have the opportunity to participate in employee stock programs, do so. If possible, extend the same opportunity to your employees. If such programs are not available to you, conduct yourself as though you were already an owner, and sooner or later you will be. It is inevitable that when you think like an owner, you will eventually become one.


January 25,2011

Some individuals appear to be “allergic” to honest work, but opportunity is equally allergic to them.

In any business, profession, or occupation, there comes a time when you have to deliver. You may fake it for a time, pretending that you’re giving an honest effort, but eventually you will be measured by your deeds, not by your words. If you are more of a talker than a doer, make a vow today — right now — to change your behavior. You may be able to drift through life if you never do more than you are required to do, but you will never know what you might have achieved if you had only been willing to give a little more. The greatest opportunities always go to those who have an affinity for hard work, not an allergy to it.

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Overcoming Cyber Bullying: Empowering the Victim


by Jim Hague, CEO, CrystalDI Web Design (www.crystaldi.com)

How are you going to stop cyber bullying? I read many articles, newspapers, and talk shows where so-called experts are telling us all there is now a war against cyber bullying and how we can win that war?

Oh please!

Bullying has been happening since the beginning of time and in all cultures and nations. A war against cyber bullying will be as successful as the war against drugs.

It’s a sad but realistic fact that cyber bullying exists and is spreading as fast as technology itself.  Cyber bullying is not limited to the computer, but spreads across the social networking sites, chat rooms, and text messaging through handheld devices. Because of the internet, people (especially the younger generation) are prone to this form of harassment 24 hours a day, everyday!

There were three tragedies that drew national attention:

Megan Meier hung herself after what she thought was an MySpace romance with a boy named Josh Evans. Josh, however, never existed. He was merely a creation used to put shame, guilt, and hurt Megan by a 50 year-old neighbor Lori Drew.

Megan, who had a history depression and attention deficit disorder, thought she was in a real-life romance despite never having physically met Josh. At first it all seemed like a dream. Then Lori Drew made her character turn against Megan and eventually shutting off all communications.  This devastated Megan enough to take care her own life.

Phoebe Prince suffered months of bullying in the hands of at least six other teenagers.
After a brief fling with a football player, several jealous classmates targeted her. Her being bullied was not limited to the Internet, but also physical abuse, which involved throwing objects as she walked home from school. School officials, parents, and even some classmates were aware that she was bullied almost daily. Phoebe had nowhere to turn. She eventually hung herself on a stairwell.

Tyler Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers University who jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. This occurred after his homosexual encounter with another male student was video streamed over the Internet without Clementi’s knowledge. In the same month, Asher Brown, 13, Billy Lucas, 15, Raymond Chase, 19, and Seth Walsh, 13, committed suicide, in each case allegedly due to being taunted about their homosexuality.

 

The Internet offers a second chance for people from a world they perceive as having rejected them.  During the 90s, the chat rooms of American Online (AOL) were the popular form of social networking. It was not uncommon for users to spend hours behind the keyboard to chat away. People who found it challenging to find dates or friends in the real world found acceptance on AOL.

The Internet allows for the freedom to create any world we want. Often, we recreate ourselves. We rarely use our real names, instead we transform into our screen names. On AOL, I was online chatting with strangers around the world. I no longer was Jim Hague. I become jimh3768.

Those of low-self esteem, the world of social media, chat rooms, and instant messaging becomes the other life. One where they are treated the way they want to be treated.

So if the online world is trashed, as the case of Megan, Phoebe, and Tyler, the loss cuts deep. They became victims of two worlds with no place to turn. Their depression runs deeper and their fears become an emergency. For Megan, Phoebe, Tyler, and many others, their only way out was death.

Cyber bulling is easy especially for those who fear confrontation in real life. Suddenly a weak person emerges into a tough talking thug online. In addition, peers are so well connected with online groups that rumors and hate speech can be spread in seconds. Teenagers are more offended when called names than older age groups. So if someone is called a ‘slut’ and its spread virally, the effects can be traumatic.

Remember on one occasion when I was chatting on AOL, I wrote something that offended another member. Within seconds, everyone hurled insults at me. I felt smothered, taunted, my stomach churned. They were not punching me nor yelling. They were typing words! Yet I felt as I was being attacked! I logged off feeling like I have just been violated.

Now I realize that I gave enough power to my online world that my brain did not know the difference between reality and a chat room.

The Secret is not to stop the bullying, but to empower the victim. A bully is only as powerful as the intended victim allows. Let’s take a game of catch. In order for the game to be played, one person has to throw the ball and another has to catch it. If one of the players does not catch the ball and walks away, the game is over. If the victim does not catch the insults by the bully, the game is over.

The Buddha found himself once before a man who was hurling insults at him. Buddha was unmoved, he simply turned to the man and said, “May I ask you a question?” The man responded with “Well, what?”  Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it to whom then does it belong?”  The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it”.  Buddha smiled, “That is correct.  So if I decline to accept your abuse does it not then still belong to you?”  The man was speechless and walked away.

A bully is a suppressed being. They often come from unhappy homes where they get little or no attention. Bullying offers them the attention they crave.  Rarely does a bully go after confident peers because ‘water seeks it’s own level.’ A bully, with hidden low-esteem issues, will go after another with low self-esteem. Trying to bully a person with confidence can result in rejection and a bully is too sensitive for that. Reaction such as fear and being intimidated is fuel for the bully to keep harassing.

Ignore the bully. Do not accept their insults like the Buddha did. This tactic will take the time to time to take effect. Eventually, bullies will sub-consciously realize that their taunting is having no result. So thus, they go find another victim.

To ignore a bully takes strength, awareness, and patience. What an amazing way to build character.

If you are an adult witnessing a child being bullied, I suggest strengthening the victim.
A person being bullied needs only an ounce of self-esteem to overcome the most difficult situations.  Be a friend to the victim. Offer encouragement. A victim feels it is them again the world. Knowing that they have a friend to turn to can save a life.

Be sure to inform school officials where the bullying is happening. Never ever tell the victim that they are ‘not’ being bullied or that they are wrong for feeling scared. Their feelings and perceptions must to be respected.

If you are a teenager all I can say is that I fully understand. I’ve been bullied in my life. Know that you are not alone and that you are not worthless. Do not seek revenge and do not wish ill will. The best revenge is to live a productive life. Set goals for yourself and find new friends (live, not online).

Regarding those bullies I had to deal with. Well, it’s been well over 20 years. We are all facebook friends now. It’s get better. Hang in there.

Jim Hague

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Web Tips TV – Show 1


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The Dangers of Internet Porn


Pornography addiction (or sex addiction) is not just a disease. It’s a destruction of life. It’s like eating Twinkies every day; eventually your body is going to fall apart with a bad sugar rush.

Sex addiction is one of those addictions that are not very much discussed in the public because unlike alcoholism and drug use, there are no immediate physical changes. People can turn on Internet porn, get a quick hit by visiting a favorite website, glance a few pictures, turn off the computer and then go walk the dog. It was as if nothing has happened.

However, something did happen. An ugly spike to the soul happened that sucked the energy right out of the victim.

With the advent of the Internet, no longer do customers have to absorb the embarrassment of walking out of those private video porn rooms. With Internet, all that embarrassment has disappeared. Porn fans can now enjoy their visual ecstasy at home when they want and how often the want. Let’s view the stats:

·   12% of websites on the internet are porn related
·   25% of all Google search requests are pornographic
·   35% of all internet downloads are pornographic in nature
·   Appx 30,000 Internet users are viewing porn every second!
·   260 new porn sites go online daily
·   SEX is the most searched word on the internet
·   US revenue from internet porn – $3 billion
·   72% of internet porn viewers are men
·   70% of Internet porn traffic occurs during a regular 9 to 5 workday
·   There are about 400 million porn web pages. 90% are produced within the USA
·   Porn has been credited to the popularizing of the internet

Source: www.healthymind.com
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Pornography produces criminals
Pornography addiction has been attributed to skewed mindset of many serial killers like Ted Bundy, Dennis Radar (the BTK Killer), and Jeffrey Dahmer; all have expressed their appetite for porn as contributing to their sadistic brutal acts:

· Exposure to Pornography May Incite Children to Act Out Sexually against Other Children
· Rapists first objectify women, usually through pornography.
Forty (40%) commits only minutes after view porn.
· 77% of those who molested boys and 87% of those who molested girls admitted to the habitual use
of pornography

Pornography is an energy drain

Let’s say that you are the common man. You may ask, what does it hurt to see a few naked hard bodies? If you read many of the books on spirituality, pornography will drain you from the energy of life. In David Deida’s book, “Way of the Superior Man”, a man who acts out (masturbates) will have a good life, but not a great life. Why? Because so much your essence, your energy is lost in the act. Like any drug, it drains the life out of your being.

Pornography is an energy drain
Let’s say that you are the common man. You may ask, what does it hurt to see a few naked hard bodies? If you read many of the books on spirituality, pornography will drain you from the energy of life. In David Deida’s book, “Way of the Superior Man”, a man who acts out (masturbates) will have a good life, but not a great life. Why? Because so much your essence, your energy is lost in the act. Like any drug, it drains the life out of your being.

Pornography destroys families and careers.
We all heard about Tiger Woods. He admitted that he is a sex addict, but is seeking help. However his legacy will always include this period of his life that he only wishes to forget.

The SEC disciplined employees who download pornography material eight hours a day during the rise of the country’s financial crises. Let’s not forget former President Bill Clinton and his cigar antics.

I have personally seen people lose their jobs, lose their families, lose their minds because of porn addiction.

Pornography is an addiction.
As the old saying goes, ‘once and addict, always an addict.’ Fighting sex/porn addiction is a lifetime challenge.  While Tiger’s life may seem to be okay just because he’s playing golf again. Deep within he is fighting himself every day in every way. When a sex addict is in front of a computer, there is an urge to be fought like a smoker fighting the need for a cigarette.

Pornography is a curse. Once its evil enters your subconscious mind it occupies a piece of your soul. Those who are addicted will always have sexually stimulated thoughts and behavior that occupy the mind.

What can be done?
It’s obvious that we must protect children for the poison of Internet porn. If you are an addict, you need to protect yourself too. There are several tools on websites that can help you block pornographic content. The following are recommended websites:  opendns.com, bsecure.com, and netnanny.com

For those who are already addicted, seek help. There are organizations like Sex Addicts Anonymous (sexaa.org) that can help.

My own fantasy
My hope is that we all stop the porn culture from its increased integration into mainstream culture. In school, we learn the dangers of drinking and driving, and rightly so. However, though controversial, my hope that is that we make the porn industry to be the villains that they are and teach the youth that porn is not entertainment, but a mind altering behavior that destroys lives.

Jim Hague
jimhague@hotmail.com

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Generation Huh? The impact of hand-held devices on kids and teens


Being a teenager from the 1980’s, I had a good life. After school, I would put away my books, change my clothes, grab a Coke and a cupcake, and then hang around watching MTV (when they were playing videos). Then the doorbell rang. I answer and see a neighbor friend of mine holding a bat and a baseball mitt.

I go into my garage, pick up my mitt and run out the door. As we played on our front yard it would not be long before other kids joined us.

At 5pm we saw our parents drive into the garage, we knew it was dinnertime. Playtime is over until the next day. We spend our evenings doing homework and watching Yankee games.

Fast-forward 2010….

I am walking my dog through an empty neighborhood. A see two little girls are sitting on the patio. They never notice my dog or me. Instead, they their heads hung low as their fingers danced on a hand-held device. Maybe a PSP? Maybe an iPod? When the mother abruptly came out ordering them inside, their heads sprung up and they responded with a ‘huh’?

In Napa Valley, Ca, I took a tour bus through the fresh smell and lush beauty of ‘Wine Country.” I can’t help but thank God for the refreshing mind-easing journey. I look to my immediate left and saw a mother looking out the window. Her son, however, had lowered his head as his fingers danced on a hand-held device. The mother tapped his shoulder, shaking him back to reality. He responded by saying, “huh?”

A few days later, I am at an Inland Empire, Ca frozen yogurt place. I took a small Styrofoam cup, poured a chocolate yogurt from the dispenser, and then added little chocolate chips and fudge. While doing this I noticed the teenage girl at the counter. She didn’t pay attention to what I was doing, nor did she care.  I could have done jumping jacks in front of her, but she was too busy text messaging her friends.  I asked, “How is business?” She looked at me as if I intruded her space. She responded with a ‘huh?’

And finally I am driving on a freeway during rush traffic in Los Angeles. I look to my left. I could barely see the young lady’s head, but could clearly see her hands texting on top of the steering wheel. Seconds later, that Nissan drove right into the back of large Ford Pick Up truck. The Nissan was totaled. The Ford was unscathed. I wondered if she said, ‘huh?’

So what does this tell you?

Hand-held devices such are turning us into human zombies. We are witnessing a generation oblivious to surroundings.   This effect is not so prevalent with my fellow Generation X (mid 30’s to 40’s) and a little more with Generation Y (late 20’s to mid-30’s). But for Generation Z (teens to mid-20’s) the thought of going a minute without texting, gaming, or surfing is tantamount to a chain smoker without a cigarette.  There just may be a new 12-step program for those addicted to Internet or hand-held devices.

While these hand-held devices provide the convenience of accessibility any time and anywhere, it should never replace the all importance interaction with fellow human beings or nature. Instead families, friends, nature and animals are reduced to mere digits and pixels.

No hand-held can ever replace the warmth of a nice smile, the appreciation of someone waving hello, or a consumer saying ‘thank you’. No hand-held will ever replace blossoming flowers, the clear blue sky, or the smell of fresh grass on a baseball field.  For safety, the laws regarding texting and driving are not tough enough.

Are hand-held devices here to stay? Oh yes. As long as Apple and Verizon makes its billions, it’s here to stay.
But it does not have to take over our lives.

I have a blackberry, but …

  • I don’t text or email while I drive.
  • I only text when necessary and if I am in the company of someone, I say a polite ‘excuse me’ before I proceed to text.
  • When I am not working I don’t answer emails
  • If riding on a bus, I don’t play hand-held games. I rather read a book
  • After work I walk my dog on the parameters outside a golf course, enjoying the ducks that swim on it’s pond. My hand-held is tucked in my pockets in case of phone calls.

Now, twenty some years later, I play on a men’s softball league. I still use the same mitt as I did as a teenager. My blackberry, tucked away till after the game.

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