Turkle, Sherry (2011) Alone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.
This is a disturbing look at how technology (in particular, robots, the Internet, and cell phones) is undermining our society. We’re inventing robots that look like baby seals to keep our elderly company. Confession websites are making it easier for people not to apologize or make amends. With texting and crackberries, “no one is where they are,” as one person said and asking for someone’s full attention is considered to be asking too much. Teenagers text so they don’t have to talk directly, the burden of an unedited telephone call too difficult to manage. Some get lost in Second Life or other virtual universes, finding them more stimulating than RL (how they refer to real life. This book should be read by anyone with children. Of course, the effect of technology is not all bad, but Turkle exposes us to its underbelly and suggests we should be more intentional about the norms we are creating. Among them, she recommends talking to people who are down the hall and turning off cell phones during dinner, when attending to children, in the car or with company. Cultivate the ability to sit in solitude or to be disconnected for a time without symptoms of withdrawal. Clarify rights to privacy.