March 21, 2013
Aldous Huxley intrigued his readers of Brave New World by presenting a drug-abusing, sex-driven, technology-based “utopian” society whose citizens had been mass-produced on an assembly line. This futuristic world, controlled by an elite few, began to crumble as some of its citizens started to think for themselves, thus threatening the social structure. Huxley’s description of an artificial, mechanical world parallels today’s society as America’s people head towards psychological dependence on technology and pharmaceuticals, whilst suppressing their individuality. There is an increasing psychological dependence on technology, leading people to be hooked on it earlier in life. Being exposed to technology at an early age allows children become conditioned to a technological dependent environment. This creates a permanent presence on those who are generously participating in the new technological age. Even children in Brave New World were conditioned to accept their roles in life since “birth”. In a study conducted by the University of Michigan Health System, it was found that “children ages 2 through 5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a television and/or playing video games.” (Boyse) The most critical learning ages in a person’s life are ages 1 through 5 so, what are we exposing future generations to? Parents should be limiting the amount of time their children spend with electronics. The American family, also functioning as a support system, is deteriorating as well. Recall that a family unit ceased to exist in the society of Brave New World and that words such as “mother” were taboo. People would rather spend time watching television, or playing video games than having a conversation with the people they live with. The University of Michigan also discovered that more time spent in front of the television means less time with family (Boyse). For a family relationship to function properly there must be communication. The typical family is busy with work and school schedules, leaving dinner as their only interaction time left for the day. Now, even this time is threatened more than ever as 51% of households have their television on during dinner time (Boyse). Children aren’t the only ones addicted to technology, but parents are too! As heads of the household, they set the example for their children. Fiona Macrae, a journalist for the DailyMail, interviewed Dr. Aric Sigman, Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Psychology, and a Master of Science degree in The Neurophysiological Basis of Behaviour stated that “With parents caught up with iPads, laptops and other electronics, they leave the parenting up to the television – this is known as “passive parenting” which is now being considered a form of neglect.” (Macrae) Unfortunately, this is the effect the advance of technology has on today’s American society. Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mark Kennedy, once said, “All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - …. The computer – says little about his intelligence but speaks volumes about his laziness.” Children are natural observers and fast learners. Keeping this in mind, how do the media influence our children? Children learn to accept common stereotypes through the technology they are exposed to. They copy what they see and hear and no one bothers to correct them. If parents were more involved in what their kids were watching, they could correct the misconceptions their children come across. Three Weeks in a Helicopter – the feely that Lenina and John experienced showcased an over-powering black man with a submissive white woman, and no one seemed to have a problem with it. Gender biased roles and attitudes are expressed throughout commercials and games, making an impression on children. This creates a cycle for generations to come.
Secondary to psychological dependence on technology, America has become a slave to pleasure as it allows us to escape...