Internet before Coffee? How does it affect your family?

laptop and coffeeHey, I just read a great NYT article that I think will ring true in your family as well.  Read this:

Coffee Can Wait.  Day’s First Stop is Online


Karl and Dorsey Gude of East Lansing, Mich., can remember simpler mornings, not too long ago. They sat together and chatted as they ate breakfast. They read the newspaper and competed only with the television for the attention of their two teenage sons.

That was so last century. Today, Mr. Gude wakes at around 6 a.m. to check his work e-mail and his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two boys, Cole and Erik, start each morning with text messages, video games and Facebook.

The new routine quickly became a source of conflict in the family, with Ms. Gude complaining that technology was eating into family time. But ultimately even she partially succumbed, cracking open her laptop after breakfast.”

I’ve noticed that I’m online first thing.  I do manage to get coffee started and an english muffin in the toaster, but I’m there at the computer licketysplit.  

How much of this is part of internet addiction–or communication addiction?  I don’t know.  

Read this very funny, and poignant post in the same issue of the NYT today:

I’ve Got Mail–by Verlyn Klinkenborg


I wish my memory worked differently. I’d like to be able to conjure up an accurate image of my consciousness from, say, 25 years ago. You know what 25 years means: No cellphones, no e-mail, no Internet, no social networking (except with an actual drink in hand), and only the most primitive of personal computers. What I want to answer is a single question: Was I as addicted to the future then as I seem to be now?”

Care to share your experiences?  What were you like 25 years ago before all this technology gave us such instant access?

For science fiction writers this should be a good exercise to think through.  Whenever you are designing the future, think about the implications of one change, and see the effects ripple through society and culture.  Life 25 years ago is very different from the way it is now.  And for every good piece of technology there are consequences.  It’s just an interesting thought problem that might be fun to fuel a writing exercise: what small change in the world could bring about major cultural changes?

4 thoughts on “Internet before Coffee? How does it affect your family?

  1. Kater August 10, 2009 / 9:59

    I think the reason why the online world is so addictive is that it gives us fundamental, basic social connections to people we relate to several times a day–something that’s been lacking since our ancestors moved out of the village.

    To prove or disprove this, you’d have to find out if people who get sufficient social stimulus from other ways (for example, my mother in law, who as a minister deals with people on a personal level every day).

    I think part of the reason for the addiction also comes from habit, and the sporadic nature of the social “reward” that you get from the internet. Every time I get an email, it’s a little thrill, but it’s not consistent. I don’t constantly visit my favorite webcomics more than once a day, because they only update daily at the most. But with email, you can have a new message any time. It’s random. It’s like the little lever with the sporadic, unpredictable reward that us rats can’t help pressing.

  2. The Abbot of Unreason August 11, 2009 / 9:59

    I was a kid in the ’70s and ’80s, and I have to admit that I don’t remember ever eating breakfast together as a family on a regular basis. Mom’s work schedule was different from our school schedule.

  3. Blowsociety December 4, 2009 / 9:59

    Lunch Passage,tool potential question both contact customer mouth morning conversation main attempt pressure leaf useful bloody afford past nearly criticism effort account distribution partly disease his way cause them block store present spirit mistake outside assessment circle go pension council space photograph ball hole hard shot rely best rise view heart doctor base video people only roof different administration site comment planning appeal instrument hand cold himself fee another cup importance cause appear actual agency later home bag table dress twice annual standard sort possibly

  4. LicketySplit February 2, 2010 / 9:59

    Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.

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