John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Brave New World Meets Future Shock

Posted on April 22, 2014
IPad Air

My daughter Molly is pretty good with the iPad and the iPhone and has been for a couple of months.

She is 18 months old.

My son Jack plays games like Minecraft and Clash of Clans.  He is addicted, as are all of his friends.  They all play against each other, from different locations, all the time.

He is turning 8 today.

The addiction makes me nervous.  But it becomes a pretty nice thing to take away when you need to compel behavior.

All of these electronic devices become pretty handy when you are taking a long drive or flying, like we are doing today.

Do electronic devices fry young brains?

Does social media increase social isolation?

Are these bad things that we are letting our kids do on a daily basis?  Is this the modern version of smoking?

I don’t know.  I hope not.

Some studies show that social media might lead to folks feeling more lonely, more detached, less sensitive to their cyber-neighbor.

Cyber-bullying has been a key concern of educators and parents.  People are mean in the cyber world.  But I remember people being pretty mean in high school too, when I was growing up, far before social media was even considered a possibility.

Cyber-bullying is not just a high school thing.  It seems to be what has built Twitter up.

People love to bash each other in their tweets.   Have you seen that commercial with Ricky Gervais, where his niece reads off all of the nasty tweets about the comedian?  He is visibly hurt by first few that she reads, but then he gathers himself up and declares that he must be doing something right.

I feel his pain.  Any public (or semi-public) figure who goes on Twitter is going to get smacked around a bit.  That’s all part of the deal.

My son asks me every once in a while why people say means things about me.  That commercial has been a very useful, because I can point to it and say that like Gervais, I am doing something right.

We are entering a Brave New World.  By the time my kids leave the house, they will be old pros in this new world.

Alvin Toffler once wrote a book called “Future Shock,” describing a whole class of people who couldn’t keep up with technological changes, and basically lived their lives in a kind of paralyzed panic.

I think my father got hit with future shock.  He doesn’t even have email, let alone an iPad or a Facebook account.  He moves very slow.

My mother has an iPad, an iPhone, a Facebook account, the whole 9 yards.  She might as well be 50 years, the way she moves about.

Life moves pretty quickly these days, unless you don’t embrace and seek to understand the Brave New World that we all live in every day.  Then, it moves pretty slow.

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