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Disconnected: Our Virtual Unreality

It’s summer in your neighborhood.  School is out in suburban America.  Trees line ponds stocked with fish available for “catch and release,” the “natural” areas abounding with turtles, ducks, geese, cotton-tailed rabbits, and squirrels.  Shady parks are equipped with playgrounds with swings and what used to be called monkey bars.  Look around you.  It doesn’t take long to notice: The neighborhood seems strangely empty.  There are few, if any, children playing at the parks.  Except on holidays, few people are at the pools.  Nobody is around.

Then you spot her—the power walker, arms cocked, hips swinging with an exaggerated gait, ears covered by headphones or plugged in with earbuds.

Welcome to the connected world.

Your childhood days may have been like mine—summers of unbounded play, wandering through fields, building forts or tree houses, and following meandering creeks with your dog blazing the trail to who knows where.  Maybe your father, like mine, cut out wooden swords and shields for reenacting, as we did, battles fought long ago, troops of boys defending the homeland like the heroes of the Alamo or Thermopylae.  The only limitations on your adventures were the depth and richness of your imagination and the supply of daylight on seemingly endless days.  Maybe you, like me, a reader who always had a book...

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