The Family Circuit Essay

The Family Circuit Essay

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The Family Circuit

A mother is doing laundry while her infant sleeps soundly in the room upstairs. She is mid-fold when a cry pierces the silence. She looks over at the baby-cam monitor and sees that her child is in his crib. She reads the dials on the side of the monitor: Vital Signs: normal. Diaper moisture level: 0. Minutes since last feeding: 136. Sighing, she reaches over and clicks three buttons, and resumes her work. Upstairs the crib starts to rock gently, as a nearby stereo plays a recording of his mother's voice singing, and a mechanical arm holding a bottle reaches in and holds the bottle for the baby to grasp. The machine retreats and the baby is lulled back into slumber without his mother having to move an inch or touch him.

The scenario may seem exaggerated—unlikely in our own time, yet not unforeseeable in the future. Our era has become so obsessed with technology and its time-saving wonders that quality time itself is taking a backseat to efficiency, destroying what is essentially the human experience. Time used to be the feature by which a family's strength was measured: the more time you spent with your children, the closer you were. Families once gathered around a dinner table in talkative interaction. But now dinner conversation is being silenced as technology takes a permanent seat at the American family's dinner table.

There is no age or gender group excluded from the target practice of the technology market. Everyone from infants to grandparents is not only involved, but subject to the increasing dependency on technology to keep family life running smoothly. The once low-cost "quality family time" has given way to a thousand-dollar cycle of expenses to keep every member of the family in touch and up...


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..." New York Times. February 10, 2001.

Centerwall, B. S. "Exposure to television as a cause of violence." Public Communication as Behavior. Academic Press, Inc., 1999. 2:1-58.

Guernsey, Lisa. "Toy story, looking for lessons. Do multimedia playthings teach or do they just pacify nervous parents?" New York Times. January 3, 2002.

Malley, Michael. "Re-engineering America's leisure time." Hotel & Motel Management. August 11, 1997.

Sneed, C., and Runco, M. A. "The beliefs adults and children hold about television and video games." The Journal of Psychology vol. 126 n. 3, 273-84.

www.apa.org/monitor/aug98/tech.html

www.earthlink.net/~esmejake/psycho.html

www.standford.edu/dept/report/news/february16/internetsurvey-216.html

www.colby.edu/personal/k/kbmacdon/bad.htm

www.consumerreports.com

www.fisherprice.com

www.census.gov

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