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Caught in a net of our own making

Published on -10/3/2012, 1:03 PM

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When I was a kid back in the Paleolithic Age, we used to play sandlot football after school. My group of thug friends chose sides, and the mayhem began. We played tackle without equipment, accompanied by bloody noses, bruised knees and bumps on the head. It was a blast.

If you do that today, the law firm of Greed, Deceit and Extortion will be on the sidelines eagerly waiting to sue the municipal locale, the property owner and the parents. So after school these days, many playing fields are largely unused, the children kept safely away from any dose of reality. And where are the urchins parked? In front of the computer, that's where.

It's all so easy. No sweating, no losing, no angst. Just clicking. Presto! There's your fantasy world. Why face uncertainty outside when you can idle away your time in the climate-controlled electronic world of your choosing?

The world's growing addiction to high tech is doing two pernicious things: sapping ambition and fostering escapism. When I suggest to my children that we explore a nature trail, they look as if I am ordering them to a gulag. A nature trail? Why? It's dirty, and there are bugs. I can look at nature on my PC anytime I want.

The escape scenario is even worse. Surveys show that for the first time ever, more Americans turn on the PC than the TV when they come home from work or school. At least on television you can watch a news program. On the Internet, there are headlines, but most of the reportage is shallow and slanted.

When the Huffington Post becomes your primary newsagent, you're in trouble.

I submit that's why President Obama is running ahead of Mitt Romney right now. Many voters simply have no idea what's going on. In this brutal economy, Obama should be running way behind. But he's not. His mixture of charisma and confidence is keeping him competitive because many voters don't know a deficit from a donut. They do know, however, how to play an Xbox.

You can tie many of the nation's problems into the tech age. Obesity is certainly driven by sitting around looking at various screens. Your fingers may be in great shape, but your butt is threatening to visit your ankles.

And how about speaking the language? LOL! R U kidding me? OMG! If you don't know what those letters mean, say a prayer of thanks. Many Americans today have trouble putting two grammatically correct sentences together, and that's not a laughing matter.

It's safe to say we are living in a rapidly changing world where a few folks will rule and many others will sit passively by not even watching as crucial events unfold. There's simply too much going on in "Techland," where achievement and face-to-face human interaction don't really matter.

OMG, indeed.

Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of the book "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama."

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