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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why I Am So Dependent on Digitial Technology

I noticed something about myself recently. I am way too dependent on digital technology, for everything. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I reach for is my iPhone, so I can check my email, texts, or voicemails that I received during the night. After that I go on Facebook and Twitter and see what is going on. Once I have checked all of these, I can then proceed with getting ready for the workday. At work, about 85% of my job is on the computer, as is everyone else’s in the world. I type proposals on the computer, communicate with other colleagues, and listen to music; all on the computer.

When I’m bored or waiting at a stoplight, out comes the iPhone. My trusty, trusty iPhone. But I find myself thinking, “Is this healthy behavior?” “Should I be this dependent on digital technology to constantly entertain and inform me?” I usually come to the conclusion yes, because everyone else is doing it. But then that old saying of “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you too?” pops in my head.

About a year ago, AT&T has some sort of service outage, which caused me to lose service for a couple of hours. During those couple of hours I could not receive phone calls or texts, could not check emails or Facebook, and could not go on the Internet. No biggie right? Absolutely wrong, I thought the world was going to end. I was out of the loop and there was nothing I could do to get back in. I was scared and confused. I thought I lost my iPhone forever.

Yet for the majority of my life I have gone without cell phones, smart phones, and computers and survived. In the past if I wanted to talk to someone, I would have to call him or her on the landline phone or go over to that person’s house and visit. What an odd concept, having to have a conversation with another individual face to face.

I think the reason why we, as a society, have allowed our dependence on technology to grow expediently over the past few decades are 1) It makes life easier, which it does and 2) people are nosey. We like to be in each other’s business, and know what everyone is doing. Plus we can get that information instantaneously. I can personally a testify that I am friends with certain individuals on Facebook just so I can see their news feed and see what crazy stuff they are doing. That’s what Facebook is good at, letting people stay in touch without having to communicate with one another. And I’m not the only one that is doing this; you’re doing it too.

I find myself wondering what’s gong to happen to the next generations’ social skills? They are growing up in this digital age, and don’t know anything else. Are they only going to be able to communicate with one another through a computer or texting? Are they going to be able to read another person’s body language and deduce whether or not that person is happy or sad? Are people going to develop horrible skin diseases because they stay inside all the time, playing on their computer and not going outside? Crazy question, but not out of the realm of possibilities.

So I would like to propose that for one day or one week, which every you prefer, minimize your dependence on digital technology. Don’t go on Facebook or Twitter 47 times a day; go on it once or twice a day. Instead of listening to your iPod on shuffle, pop in a CD in the good old CD player, or better yet listen to vinyl. Are these options possibilities? Will anyone take me up on this challenge? Because I’m not going to do it. I need my digital technology. Until next time. 

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