Okay, that’s too easy of an answer. But this is usually the answer I give people when they ask me if I think we rely too much on technology. If I’m being honest with myself, I know the only reason I’m so defensive is that I grew up in an age where technological improvements spiked during my childhood. I can remember a time when I thought the craziest technology was a DVD (and I can vividly remember having like five DVDs compared to around fifty VHS tapes, thinking that I would never own more DVDs than VHS tapes). By the time I was ten, social media was coming out and smartphones were just starting–I was the perfect age for all of this to be introduced. Because of this, my middle and high school years were spent going from mp3 players to iPhones, and I have definitely grown attached.
But my ideas of technology were challenged during Kiera and Jayden’s debate. As always, we begin with a pre-vote. The class agrees with me–they believe we aren’t too reliant on technology, however, they could be thinking back on similar experiences like my own. Maybe we get so defensive just because we are the generation of technology. Or maybe we technology isn’t as bad as people try to make it seem. Let’s dive in!
First, we look at the pro-side. Jayden argued that yes, we have become too reliant on technology and maybe a hint of the good ole days will do us some good.
Let’s look at her four main points:
- Technology can lead to mental and physical health issues
- We have lost many skills because of technology
- Technology doesn’t benefit students the way we may think it does
- We are missing important aspects of our life because of technology
I truly believe that technology can lead to mental health issues. With the rise of social media, and the rise of photoshopping apps, beauty standards are all over the internet, especially Instagram. Whenever I think of poor self-esteem issues in kids, specifically young girls, my mind immediately goes to Instagram models and influencers who post perfect photos on the daily–it’s basically magazines of the new age that portray models as the “ideal” beauty. However, even though I believe that technology can increase mental health issues, I never even thought of the physical issues. Of course, I knew of the dangers of texting and driving, but I have noticed that we have focused on the texting and driving issue less and less. I think this is because so many people just ignore the dangers of it. I notice so many of my friends casually going on their phones while driving–I catch myself doing it! Once I almost got into a car accident because I was on my phone, and even after that instance I still will send people quick texts when I’m driving. Usually, they are to let people know I’m on my way home, but I know I should be doing that before I put my vehicle into drive.
However, it’s not just texting and driving that can be dangerous. As both Jayden and Psychology Today note, pedestrians who are texting and walking can also cause injury. Almost 1500 US pedestrians go to the ER because of texting-related injuries. Not only that but a lot of the times when people are walking and texting they accidentally veer from the path they are taking. This can lead to even more injuries.
The main focus of the article by Psychology Today is about addiction and how we have all become addicted to technology. As mentioned during the class discussion, we spend a ridiculous amount of time on our phones, so much so that you can now track how often you are on it. Katia herself said it scared her to look at her stats. So, even though it scares me too, I decided I would share my own with you.
I’ll admit that I am on technology way too much. Eight hours per day on average–that’s a third of my day. Granted, I do use the phone a lot to call, text and FaceTime my girlfriend, but for the majority of it I am on social media. It’s scary to realize how attached I have grown to my phone. Last summer, while out camping with my friends, we had terrible service, but that didn’t stop me from being on my phone pretty often (I had to keep those streaks going… I’m not kidding). I couldn’t even detach myself for four days. That’s sad, honestly.
Another article we were to read was a list–29 Once-Common Survival Skills We’ve Lost To Technology. I made it my goal to see how many things on the list I could do, and it turns out I could still do 65.5%. For many of them I tried making excuses for myself–well, I can kinda point out trees, I know at least five; I can mend holes in my clothes, but have no idea what darning a sock is so those two should be separated; I can’t check a tire (which is my dad’s fault because he keeps forgetting to show me) but I can check oil; I know the logic and steps behind making a fire, but have never actually made one. But the last one made me the most discouraged: I can’t wait patiently without going on my phone. Unfourtunately.
Next, let’s look at Kiera’s video. Her main points:
- We can use technology to connect
- Technology can give us power and opportunity
- Technology is efficient
- We can facilitate through technology
I think the use of technology to connect is the greatest benefit, at least for me. As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, my girlfriend lives in Vancouver where she is studying theatre acting. We rely on technology to connect with each other. We call one another frequently (she actually called me while I was in the middle of writing this blog), we FaceTime, watch movies together–we rely on technology to keep connected. That’s another reason why I get so defensive when people say that they think technology has taken over our lives.
Not only can technology keep us connected, but it can also give us power like Kiera mentioned. Examples of this would be movements that rely on technology to function (a topic I have also addressed on this blog). It can also give us opportunities. For example, people can use GoFundMe or PayPal to help people with money issues. And while helping may be great, I also think it’s awful that we have to rely on technology and money apps just so that people can live comfortably in our world. However, that is a totally different argument that we do not have time to address.
One argument that Kiera mentioned was that technology has led to more jobs, with 140 million people getting jobs because of technology. As a counter, Jayden mentioned that technology is also replacing jobs. Kiera then mentioned that there are still people who are taking care of the technology that is being run, and there are people in factories who are dealing with online orders. And I agree that ensuring people have jobs is great, I do not agree with this argument. Amazon, arguably the biggest company in the world, relies on factory workers and laborers to run. And how is Amazon treating those workers? Horribly. This point could be positive if so many people working in those conditions weren’t being treated so unfairly.
So who won the debate?
Jayden had made some headway in this debate, even convincing me. But this isn’t a black and white issue. Really, none of our debates are. Again, this is a case of us needing technology in today’s day and age in order to be up to par, but we also have to understand the risks. We can’t choose one over the other–that’s too simple.