” It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”- Albert Einstein
Pop Cutlure has a superstar these days and it’s the electronic device… Billions of users own one of these babies so they must be something really super special. Yes, they are pretty spectacular and not to be a buzzkill…but these little gems also have a dark side. In this blog post essay, I will point out the negative effects that too much technology has on our society and provide some evidence to support my assertion :
New Technology! We automatically assume this is a good thing…right? At first thought it would seem so, but if one puts on their critical thinking cap, they would realize that there is a good argument to be made that these addicting little devices also have a downside, and overuse create many a problem if not kept in check. Everything should be done in moderation, but let’s face it – something as mesmerizing as an amazing little digital device, refraining from all that fun can be a challenge!
Ahhh….who doesn’t cherish their snazzy new smartphone or I pad ? Before they were introduced on the consumer market , how did we ever function without them? Quite nicely indeed is the answer to that question. We owned home desktop computers, and a beeper served as an excellent way to reach someone in an emergency…somehow people found a way to call the person in need, by either borrowing someone’s landline phone, or by finding a pay phone that used to be on almost every main street corner. I must admit, life has become easier and the world of education more expansive with the advances of digital modern technology, but Is today’s incredible and seemingly endless availability of technology too much of a good thing? I believe it is, especially when it comes to young people, and here are several very good reasons why I make this assertion:
#1 The Social Ramifications
The good old days of sitting down to dinner with family and actually talking about everyone’s day, seem to be rapidly dwindling. I suppose checking Facebook or sending a text is more important than talking to the person sitting next to you- really?! Whenever I am out in public, I can’t help but notice that people more often than not, have their faces in their devices, instead of having a face to face conversation with the person(s) they are with. Not engaging in meaningful conversation with fellow human beings on a consistent basis, does little to develop a young person’s interpersonal skills, or cultivate existing friendships. Learning how to relate to people in a social setting, is an all important skill necessary to function in the real world!
#2 TMI !
Our smartphones and Tablets are really just compact little computers that provide oodles of information, but how much is too much? Do young people really need access to that many websites or social media sites or You Tube Videos, some of are completely inappropriate, and take away from children’s already short lived years of innocence. Social media sites allow our kids to put their most personal information out there and that is just a terrible idea. There are also the risks of cyber bullying, in which 25% of todays teens claim they are a victim of ! : http://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/
And then there are the advertisers who collect data and are like stalkers, and thanks to Google and the like, they know exactly what a user is interested in, and what product or service to barrage them with. Do we really want big corporations constantly targeting our kids to get them to buy stuff? I think Not!
#3 The Expense
Kids used to ask for an “expensive” pair of $75 tennis shoes , but now they want the latest version of the I Phone which can set a parent back several hundred dollars- not to mention the monthly fees . The digital device kids wave around at school can be seen as a status symbol, not to mention a reflection of someone’s economic status. Almost every highschool student these days have a smartphone – and granted, sometimes it is necessary to have a phone to stay in touch with mom or dad, but the mini computers are overkill- and equipping your kid with the latest device is expensive, and unfortunately not all families can afford them!
#4 Attractive Distraction
I work with school aged children, and I can’t help but notice how incredibly attracted kids are to electronic devices these days. In our classroom, when the kids are given a choice of what they would like to do during free time, EVERY time the FIRST choice is ALWAYS to play with the IPAD. Kids are simply mesmerized by these little devices and can’t ever to seem to get enough. I have even noticed with my own daughter, that when we let her know it’s time to log off her favorite virtual game she is immersed in, she becomes annoyed after being pulled out of “the zone” she was in . A friend of mine did an experiment with her young son recently, and told him he could do ANYTHING he wanted at home that day, and wouldn’t you know he played games ALL DAY on the computer!? Kids can easily become obsessed and with the massive amounts of bright and shiny, super exciting games available to them on these alluring devices!
#5 Unhealthy Obsession
Technology is replacing outdoor activities and many of our kids are not getting outside to play as much as they should. Allowing a child to play on their device as much for hours on end , is not particularly good parenting . Sure, it’s much easier to send them to their room with a digital device vs taking them out for a bit of physical activity, but is not in the best interest of the child. This lack of physical activity causes laziness and problematic weight gain. Childhood Obesity is a health issue in the U.S. and kids sitting around with their face in a device, is definitely not helping. In fact, too much screen time can be directly related to many children’s weight problems :http://www.insightmediaintl.com/cause-childhood-obesity.html. The bottom line is that overuse of digital devices are causing kids in our society to become couch potatoes and disengaged in the real world, and that should concern all of us!
So there you have it! I have stated my case and brought about my concerns about the dangers of device overuse, and the direction technology is taking us these days. I have the strong opinion that Too Much Technology can take away from Family, Health, Relationships and even our Finances.
Got an App for that ?
My question is this : Have I Pads, Tablets and Smart Phones done a masterful job of paving the way for an inevitable predominantly virtual world? What about The New Oculous Rift? Given society’s heightened interest in all this new technology, and the strides that electronics have made since 1993 when smart phones first appeared, is it plausible that one day someone like James Halliday in the Sci Fi novel Ready Player One – will create an Oasis type society? Think about…..critically of course 🙂