Sherry Turkle’s book “Alone Together” is very profound and deals with aspects society has encountered with technology. When reading the first chapter I could not help to notice the power of the tamagotchi toy. As someone who felt distant from the example and influence of that toy, I could not really understand how such a thing could possibly occur. I once had a teddy bear when I was young, although I would use my imagination that it was real, I never thought it was actually real and it never had control over my life. However, in contrast a teddy bear is a passive toy, and a tamagotchi is an inanimate object however still seems to engage the person make it an active toy to engage with. So as for myself I need to use an outside source to understand this phenomenon, and managed to interact with my friend on this discussion.
My friend, Emmanuel, is a current junior and remembers having a tamagotchi when he was younger. So I asked him a few questions on what I could not comprehend about the reading. He told me about he actively needed to engage with the toy countless times, and he enjoyed it. In the book it states, “To live, a Tamagotchi must be fed, amused, and cleaned up after. If cared for, it will grow from baby to healthy adult”( Turkle 31). Emmanuel explained all this to me and how it affected him. He told me it is also dependent on how well you treat the tamagotchi, so if treated poorly it could turn into a “drag”. However, Emmanuel also mentioned he owned a tamagotchi not when he was the age of eight or nine, in contrast to many of the children mentioned in the book, but when he was an early teen. He told me, “although I had to take care of it a lot, I still knew it was a toy so once I got annoyed or tired by it I just let it sit there”(Emmanuel). This made me think, and indubitably this has to be true. When we are young children we tend to perceive the world differently, and a demanding toy as a tamagotchi can give a unique sensation when engaging with it at a young age. But as we get older, we tend to form abstract models of thinking and as our brain grows with age we can think much more effectively that at the age of a child. Which is one of the main reasons as someone who is a young adult cannot see the impact a tamagotchi has on ones life.
As we get older we know or at least have a general idea of the world and functions associated with it. If I were to give a tamagotchi to a 30 year old man, he would disregard it throw it away with ease. Since he knows it is just a toy and understands that concept. However for a child, who is still learning and growing, if they associate emotions with the tamagotchi they can be, as the book mentioned, totally engaged in with it. If something happens to it they will be upset and if it dies they still remember the time they spent with the previous tamagotchi. My conclusion- there is a clear distinct age difference between when we think a toy such as a tamagotchi is real, or when we know we can throw that hunk of junk in the trash and not think twice. However, this also begs the questions, what if these kids who perceive the tamagotchi to be as real as they are, will they in the future still think of them as real when they are 18 years old.
“My Tamagotchi Died.” Quickmeme. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Alone Together by Sherry Turkle on carmen
Peer interviewed friend- Emmanuel