Social networks will make us scared of kittens
<Image the sleeping geek kitten – http://flickr.com/photos/nathonline/918128338/>
After Baroness Greenfield's analysis of how social networks are damaging the very brain stuff of teenagers, there's more bad news for social network fans with some research just in. With teenagers spending an average of 7 hours a day online, and engaging in constant social interaction with other human beings, it is highly likely that they will forget to engage with animals.
The results could be damaging for the whole of mankind. By constantly engaging with 'avatars' of people online which may resemble animals, teenagers will become separated from the reality of animals. Baron Brownose, a prominent opinion spouter, said 'we know that if someone has never seen a particular animal they will be cautious of it. What seems obvious is that teenagers who spend all their time online will find real animals either very frightening because they are unfamiliar with them, or they will expect them to behave like avatars online. We will see teenagers becoming aggressive when a dog does not reply to them.'
In just the same way that mankind became divorced from the reality of being a hunter-gatherer, which has led to global warming, so this schism will have profound implications. We know that stroking dogs helps people who are ill, so it may be that the future generation will be unable to get over illness. We also know that animals form an important part of language development – 'dog' and 'cat' or often early words for children. 'Computer', and 'Twitter' are more difficult to say and so a whole generation of children will have their language development blocked at this early stage.
But Brownose goes further 'there is an increase in allergies in society currently. We don't know if this is due to children spending less time with pets and more time online, but it sure is a coincidence. It could be that by living online instead of with pets will make mankind allergic to the modern world. It will lead to the end of the world. Even if this isn't true, a generation of children scared of kittens would be damage enough.'
Brownose reported how a park keeper he knew had seen a rapid decline in children's confidence around animals over the past few years. 'It's like they've never seen them before. I definitely think it's because they don't interact with animals enough when they're young.'
This will be no surprise to many parents who worry about the time their children spend online, and with this kind of hard, scientific evidence to back up their concerns, we will likely see more campaigns for 'more fur, less facebook.'
Kittens are OK, since they have the necessary linguistic skills to say “I can haz strokings, Y/N?” It’s the dogs (other than Cogdog, whose barks are occasionally comprehensible) I worry about. Monkeys, presumably, will continue typing and producing copy for the Daily Mail.
Why haven’t The Mail made us aware of this? how can any responsible newspaper leave our children exposed to this terrible danger?
@ed – you see, it’s happened to you already. Cats don’t really speak like that. I will take this as scientific evidence that Brownose is correct!
@Nigel – you’re lucky edtechie is on the case
I’ve got nothing. Seriously, I have re-read this post like 20 times and I just don’t know where to begin. I do want to meet Miz Greenfield though. She would be awesome to have around at a dinner party.
I don’t think we have anything to fear. Since I abandoned my real social life and became a full-time digital resident, I seem to have developed the ability to communicate telepathically with my two goldfish (at least I assume that’s where the voices are coming from).
I think my cat will be ok as she walks across my laptop keyboard if I ignore her for too long. And all my animals have their own Faceebook pages so they don’t need attention anyway as they are too busy chatting to other animals across the world.
Wow, I had no idea I was “occasionally comprehensible”- I aim for “totally incomprehensible”.
This is an interesting proposition, though it is taking a lot of leaps in supposition. If the 7 hours are displacing a lot of time in front of TV, is the effect that terrible (I may be able to scratch a cat’s back while glued to the tube…).
The study also neglects to account for the positive attention towards cats created by production of LOLcat pictures- it must take attention time to get those terribly cute photos.
That said, I am off to register the domain of “FurBook.com”
@Alan – you are always comprehensible, but only to those who have special high frequency hearing
Good post Martin, funny as always. Kind of makes my pronouncements on Susan Greenfield rather po-faced and earnest.
I see, that’s why my cat is so happy because I don’t have a social life and now she’s my life. ^_^
The meaning of images is always socially produced. Images of animals will be understood in context by even very small children. If a photo is taken up close, in a house, a bedroom etc the child will identify that the animal is safe. Seeing the animal in the flesh, in this context, would not cause such hysteria. Anyway, half the images on the net are of cats and dogs! Mostly cats.
I hope everyone who visitis your blog has a good time here as much as I do.