The most dramatic step toward a global village has been the Internet and expanding digital devices. Cell phones and social networking connect people and events almost instantaneously.
Between 1990 and 2011 worldwide mobile phone subscriptions rose from 12.4 million to over 5.6 billion (according to Wikipedia). According to the International Telecommunications Union, 6.5 billion of the world’s population were using the Internet in 2006, some 7 billion by 2011.
The United States ranks second in terms of the total amount of Internet users (China being first and Japan third). But in terms of the percent of the population who are Internet users, the U.S. ranks 32nd.
(The following statistics come from Neilson and the Council for Research Excellence.)
The population of the U.S. in 2012 was about 312 million. Of these
290 million owned one TV,
253 million own a DVD player,
162 million own a video game console
145 million own digital cable
129 million a digital video recorder
95 million have satellite connections
Of about 120 million households in the U.S., 114.7 million own at least one television set.
Some 35.9 million have 4 or more TVs
Another 28.3 million more 3 TVs
Another 32.7 million have 2 TVs
Another 17.7 million have only 1 TV
The average US American spends 8 hours and 44 minutes on screens.
5 hours and 53 minutes on television screen
(including DVD or VCR, DVR, and Console games
2 hours and 23 minutes on computer screen
20 minutes on mobile phone screen
8 minutes on other screens
On average US teens send 50 texts a day.
2% no texts
22% send 1-10 texts per day
28% send 11-50 texts per day
16% send 51-100 texts per day
31% send over a hundred texts per day
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
1. Do you have a cell phone? A computer? A TV for personal use? A digital tablet or eReader (or E-reader)?
2. How much time do you think you spend on some kind of screen per day?
3. Do you know anyone you think spends too much time on screen? With what harmful effects might you be concerned?
4. Do you think excessive time on personal screens detracts from the quality of social relationships?
5. What do you consider to be the benefits and possible detriments of our digital age? Can digital devices move from being our tools or servants to being our masters or slave drivers?
1. The benefits of increased and enhanced global, social connections are admitted by most. Awareness of justice issues, immediate access to friends and personal connections across great distances are obvious benefits.
2. Sherry Turkle, a foremost researcher into the psychological and social impact of computers and the Internet age has written Alone Together: Why We Expect More from TECHNOLOGY and Less from EACH OTHER. This expresses very well the concern of many about our attachment of even obsession with our screens.
3. A primary concern is the effect of personal screens on family life.