Technology is a love/hate business
Technology, love it or hate it, it’s advancing. We are in an age where most things can be achieved by technology or can be made more convenient through the use of it.
As a species, the human race has always strived to achieve; seek new possibilities and solve problems.
The advancement of technology has been driven by our urge to aspire to new heights and change the way we see the world. Is there a cost associated with advances in technology? Is the world better or worse off for this? Has technology ruined us?
Technology vs the Environment
My attention has recently been drawn to the work of Greta Thunberg, a young environmentalist who campaigns to world leaders to address global warming and the devastation that modern society reaps on the planet. This got me thinking; what is the role of technology in the destruction of our planet?
We know more cars means more pollution and as a society we are heavily dependant on them for both work and pleasure. Should the cost of public transport be reduced in an attempt to encourage people to take the bus or train? Should world leaders force car companies to reduce emissions further and invest in ‘cleaner’ modes of transport?
We all use products in our everyday life that are harmful to the environment; plastics, nappies, baby wipes and household cleaners all come at a ‘cost’. Would banning these convenient products make a difference? Being a person who cleans avidly and has a daughter who is in nappies, I am too lazy and cheap to seek alternatives; these items being readily available has spoilt me.
Thinking of others -selfish screens
In the age of smartphones and tablet screens; when do we pay attention to each other? We have all been guilty of having too much screen time, I am having screen time now as I type. Can this affect our ability to empathise with others?
Developing emotional intelligence and empathy are qualities that are often overlooked within our education system of grades and league tables. A teacher might argue that it is a parents job to teach their children about considering others. If we are chained to a screen all day, are we paying attention to other people and what they might need?
Being in your own world, staring and tapping at a screen might provide you with enjoyment for a short time, however, is this beneficial in the long run? If we become consumed constantly with the things we find interesting; what about others? When I was young we only had one TV so I would have to watch things that my Mum and Dad liked sometimes, this taught me tolerance. It taught me that I should respect other peoples tastes are different and it is not all about me.
If we always get what we want, always watching and listening to what we want, does that lower levels of tolerance and result in a more selfish society? If you were on your phone and accident happened to another person, would you even notice? What would you do; record the event or drop the phone and help?
Level up: The Curse of saved games and perseverance
We recently purchased a handheld console for my sons birthday with some ‘Retro’ games on it like Mario and Tetris. As I attempted to complete a level of Mario I remembered why I would get frustrated as a child; there was no autosave. If I got through the first level and then died, I would have to go all the way to the beginning and start completely from scratch. This builds a sense of perseverance that I feel is absent from many of the current games which autosave after only doing a few actions.
In the days of sitting in my bedroom, playing Tetris, I would keep trying to beat myself and go up a level. I did not have games saved, I had to do the same boring, easy levels I had done every day. However, when I got to level 82 one day, I felt I had achieved something. I had persevered and not given up when others might have done. This perseverance has served me well as both a teacher and as a mother.
Too much screen time can cause all sorts of problems. As I type this, my eyes are heavy and I realise that I might need to take a step away from the screen soon.
Being a teacher, I have to spend my fair share of time looking at a computer screen, call it an occupational hazard.I do not help my situation; if I am honest, I spend far too much time checking social media or staring at my TV.
I love to write but the mere fact I have to use my tablet makes me feel guilty because, after a long and challenging day at work, I know I should be resting my eyes. Even my hobbies involve technology. I could read a book but considering I use the Kindle app on my phone, it defeats the object.
Even though I have my kindle set so it does not strain my eyes and I have large text, my eyes still become strained and I find myself nodding off. I could buy a printed book, however, being dyslexic means I struggle with smaller text and the Kindle enables me to read easier. Having the Kindle app is one major advantage that technology has brought to me.
Impatient – I want it now!
I tried to order the film ‘Flash Gordon’ yesterday to show my son, being an Amazon Prime member I thought ‘I can have it tomorrow and watch it with him’. On adding the DVD to my basket and checking out I discovered it would not be available till Tuesday, I was instantly annoyed.
I have Amazon Prime, I should have it the next day, the prime logo was there so why deliver so late? I felt like Verruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stamping her feet and screaming ‘I want it NOW!’.
I saw an interesting video called 90 seconds that made me think; we are so used to instant results we cannot cope when we have to wait. We become angry and lash out, whether it a longer takeaway wait or waiting for something to download.
I remember a time when it took five to ten minutes to get on the internet; why do I now get annoyed when I cannot do something instantly? Damn loading page. I want the world and I want it now. I have no resilience when it comes to waiting anymore. I am an impatient toddler who can see sweets.
Do we know too much?
Has the internet turned us into a bunch of ‘know it all’s?’ Do we need endless articles giving us information on everything? Before the internet, our source of knowledge was either from books, other people around us or the media; now we can find anything within minutes.
Has this ability to get information made us lazier? As a teacher, I see all sorts of copy and paste jobs where the pupil does not have a clue on what they write. I have also seen pupils use the internet to answer homework questions; does this develop your thinking skills? If the teacher has taught the concept and then set the homework, surely the independent thing to do would be to try to decode it yourself.
Drama, drama everywhere
The rise of social media has connected us in many ways but has also contributed to an increase in anti-social behaviour. Trolling is easy, anonymous and ‘detached’ from real life. There used to be a time when people had to insult each other face to face, not behind a screen. This ability to voice our opinions on just about anything has given people the opportunity to spread negativity everywhere, creating drama with it.
Beauty influencers are known to fight on Twitter with fans from different sides attacking and threatening both sides. Drama channels feed off influencers mistakes and serve the ‘tea’ with venom. Facebook is littered with toxic arguments on everything; politics, parenting and even cleaning. Nobody ‘wins’ these arguments, they are either deleted or they fester away in the archives as a reminder of how cruel we can be.
Lonely in our own bubbles
Is the world more alone than ever? I would say it is. Although computers have enabled us to connect with people across the globe it has also created a bubble around ourselves when it concerns those around us in ‘real life.’
Have you ever checked your phone while talking to a friend? I have and I am all too aware that I cannot be an active listener if I am glued to my phone at the same time.
Multi-tasking is a myth and when you try to listen while doing another thing, you are master of neither. I have been guilty of it as well as seeing it all around me.
By focusing on a screen, the majority of the time, we alienate ourselves from the beauty that surrounds us. We are disconnect from the things that truly matter, friends, family and the world around us.
Do you think technology is ruining society? I would love to know what you think in the comments below.
Ciao for now beauties xx