How Art Imitates Life – Unsafe Tech Use Regularly Portrayed in TV and Film Normalizes This in Real Life

By B.N. Frank

New technology has provided many benefits.  Having access to a cell phone in emergencies and using the Internet for research can and has literally saved lives.

Many experts have already written articles and reports about how increased technology is affecting society.  I’m not an expert.  I’m middle-aged and spent the first half of my life without digital technology.

I like and appreciate digital technology but I’m tired of seeing it being used unsafely 24/7 everywhere I look.  This includes on TV, film, and advertisements.

When I was in my 20s and single, I watched TV shows like Friends and Living Single.  I don’t remember characters using cell phones or computers much if at all for anything other than work.  Most of my friends lived the same way.

Today’s TV and film characters are often depicted overusing and/or unsafely using their technology.  It especially bugs me when adult characters enable kids to do this.  But this is art imitating life.  More people seem to live this way now than don’t.

Advertising and marketing campaigns – sometimes for medication –depict people using technology in ways that are unsafe as well.

“The new normal” seems to be children glued to devices completely unaware that they don’t operate via magic.  This is true of many adults as well.  Few bother to read the manuals and safety guidelines including medical professionals.

Bill Maher recently made a comment about this:

You are tolerating things right now that will make you cringe in 25 years.

We can’t believe people in old movies smoked. They won’t believe we put the cellphone in our pocket next to our nuts.

Today’s kids and young people may not realize that smoking was regularly featured in TV shows and films into the 1990s.  Marketing was also directed at children.

1968-1973 comedy/variety TV show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, featured the skit, “Salute to Smoking.” Research proving harm was still often being dismissed as “controversial” or “inconclusive” even by medical professionals.

Technology can be very beneficial.  A hammer can also be very beneficial in that it can be used to build a house.  It can also be used to tear it down.

How much technology is too much depends on who you ask, who is profiting from sales, and who is concerned about health risks and economic and social consequences.

The Telecom Industry has been under fire off and on for many years already.  There has been increasing coverage of this – including by U.S. broadcast stations.  The Telecom Industry is sometimes being referred to as “Big Wireless” and being compared to “Big Tobacco.”  Citizens and celebrities are voicing concerns as well.

Decades of research proving harm from exposure to cell phone and wireless WiFi radiation and other sources of electrical pollution (Electrosmog) is still being dismissed as “controversial” and “inconclusive” by many U.S. elected officials and government employees.  In fact many of them are forcing even more harmful technology on us instead of using “The Precautionary Principle.

It wasn’t that long ago when smokers could light up everywhere – even in medical facilities.  Many people fought to change this and “Big Tobacco” fought them every step of the way.

“Big Tobacco” hasn’t slowed down.  They just invest in other products now – like pharmaceuticals.  Seriously.

“Big Wireless” has no intention of slowing down its efforts to sell devices, software, and infrastructure to businesses, communities, government agencies, public school systems, and every single one of us from cradle to grave.  They will continue to dismiss research proving harm.  Outdated legislation and safety standards allow this to happen.

While the now-President Trump was campaigning for office, he said, “If you don’t like the laws, change them.”  People have fought to change laws before.  This has also been depicted in TV shows and films.

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