The Adverse Effects of Technology

Technology. Most of us have a love-hate relationship with it. We’re awed with how much technology has advanced and how our day-to-day activities have been greatly improved by technology. And when our laptop fails to start or our paper fails to recover, we hate technology with a passion. Bottom line is, we allow technology to be a big influence in our lives, be that positively or negatively.

I’ve never been a fan of technology. Sure, I like working on the computer. I like organizing and making electronic lists. I like graphic designing. I like building websites. And obviously, I like blogging. However, my use of technology is strictly to obtain and share information. Or, to communicate with those I can’t see on an everyday basis. Honestly, I don’t enjoy technology. How is that possible when I rely on emails and phone calls to sustain my long distance friendships? You see, usage in moderation is fine. But more often than not, we abuse technology.

Do you have the habit of calling someone when you’re on the road? Sure, kill two birds with one stone. But before the age of cell phones, what did you do? Listen to the radio perhaps? I like to heed close attention to my surroundings – to the sun setting, to the dauntless skyscrapers, to the dazzling city lights, etc. This simple enjoyment is quickly replaced with phone calls to accommodate our ever fast paced lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be this way. Appreciating Nature shouldn’t be a second priority.

Technology not only makes us unaware of our natural surroundings, but also the people around us. Once, I took the bus to the inner-city, a place I have little experience with. I wanted to ask a nearby passenger for directions. But he was on his iPod, oblivious to my calls for help. I live in Minnesota, where we’re known to be nice to strangers. But, technology effectively took this quality from us. This is why I sold my iPod. I didn’t want to appear less than welcoming, less than friendly to those around me. I want them to know they can approach me with questions.

When my boyfriend first met me, he was still fascinated with his new iPod. He played with it, almost constantly. (Sure, he might be looking up information pertaining to our conversation, but what I saw was lack of etiquette, not smart usage of technology.) On that habit alone, I was almost prone to end our relationship. No, I’m not bluffing. I have zero tolerance for those who place technology on a higher priority than human relationships.

In a previous entry, I recounted the story of how a mother neglected her child over technology. You see, when technology hurts our interpersonal relationships, that’s when we need to stop. Stop being reliant on technology!

Do you Facebook? I do. (I was coerced into it.) I get newsfeeds from friends back in elementary school. It’s nice to know what they’re up to, who they’re dating, etc. But honestly, is that friendship? Or am I just a nosy person who wants to know the latest happenings of my “friends” but paid no actual effort to really connect with them? Can Facebook status updates and wall messages replace face-to-face meetings? Definitely (and obviously) not. So stop wasting time on Facebook, hiding behind a laptop, and start hanging out with friends. You’d be surprised how physical chemistry does matter.

Next time you take out your cell phone or iPod, ask yourself if it is necessary, if there isn’t an alternative source of entertainment. I challenge you to, now and then, disconnect yourself from all things electronics. You’d be amazed how it can change your daily habits.

Allow technology to better our lives, not control our lives.

2 responses to “The Adverse Effects of Technology

  1. I think I prefer to ‘love’ technology as I would not have a job without it AND would never have ‘met’ you. =P However, that doesn’t mean I don’t complain about it taking over my life and my several (failed) attempts to ‘strip’ it from my life.

    I was coerced into FB and still remember the conversation (IM) and the person who coerced me. That person? Well, I’m FB friends with her but I can’t even remember the last time we had a real conversation, probably around the time I created the FB account! So sad. I contemplated deleting the account not long ago but resisted. I do plan to ‘clean up’ FB friends as there are people I don’t want to ‘stalk’ anymore!

    And, I laughed out loud when I read his iPod story, especially the ‘not bluffing’ part as I can see you actually saying/reacting that way! I’ll keep that in mind the next time I see you playing with your phone in front of me. =P

  2. I love technology, but I hate what become of it. Now, you have it everywhere you, so you’re easily distracted. I do hate talking to someone and hearing their phone ring or seeing them answering text message.

    It also makes you unapproachable. But at the same time, there are days that I just want to be left alone, so I appreciate looking busy. I appreciate having music wherever I go. In fact, I don’t know if I could have gotten through college without my mp3 player “ru” (can’t think of the English word for it) me to sleep on the bus/train/trolley rides.

    Lolz, I just took the opposite challenge. I just bought myself a Zune (Microsoft version of Ipod Touch). I love it! Not only will it help with me as a programmer, but it also helped start conversations :)

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