The dawn of the technological age brought with it innovation, creativity, and the ability for humans to interact and be entertained like never before. We've connected people across oceans, sent man to outer space, and have the world at our fingertips on a 24/7 basis. But with this digital age comes a dark passenger that threatens our ability to move forward as people, and will only continue to worsen. It is my fear that we as a species reached our peak long ago, before the widespread use of computers and television robbed us of our vision, our iPod earphones devastated our hearing, the internet and video games replaced books and thus our vocabularies, and our mobile phones made face-to-face communication an awkward practice in futility. And if you haven't noticed yet the negative consequences of this digital world, you eventually will. This is not progression, this is regression. It struck me at a recent supper rendezvous with friends that people simply don't talk to each other anymore. Just one glance around the table returned a scene of people with their heads down, their fingers dancing across their phone screens while they texted and tweeted. The only rescue from the dead silence deafening the table was the sound of vibrations and beeps, which came at an nauseatingly frequent pace. When people actually mustered the courage to produce audible conversation, the replies consisted of shortly-held eye contact and seemingly hurried and stunted responses, most likely so they could return to creeping their ex-landlord's vacation pictures. These are just the people I'm familiar with. The Internet has opened up a portal to an assortment of mouth-breathing, lowest-common-denominator John Does who are unaccountable for their actions and clueless as to what constitutes being a decent person. Example: I recently played a game of hockey on Xbox Live against a stranger I had never met. He built up a lead and then proceeded to play keep-away for the rest of the game, circling around his own zone while I pursued him without luck. It didn't anger me so much as it just irritated me that someone could go out of their way to waste the time of a complete stranger by employing cheap tactics. I messaged him after the game asking "why did you do that?" and he proceeded to shower me with racist, homophobic epithets whilst calling me a "n00b" and taunting me for the "pwnage" I had just received. Pressing him further, he revealed that he just wanted to piss me off and make me quit. "Why" again, I ask? In recent years The Internet has devolved into a culture of trolls, bullies and taunters, whose sole mandate is to make themselves feel better by putting down other people. But to what endgame? What possible reward exists for knowingly hurting the feelings of a complete stranger in a far away place? I thought we were a civilized and sophisticated culture, but it seems that the cloak of anonymity has turned many into cowardly and sad individuals. One needs to look no further than the comments page of your typical YouTube video to see a collection of hateful posts being thrown back and forth by people driven by the irrational need to harm one another. I feel we are letting the world pass us by while our heads are buried in our screens. We are letting our common decency towards one another slip away from us. I honestly don't see things getting any better. The sad thing is we're approaching a point where it can't get worse. So are we losing a part of ourselves to the digital world? Are we too connected? Discuss.