Technology: A smooth ride until the wheels come off

Emma Hennessy (TheLorian)

It’s all happened before: watching a favorite T.V. show at three a.m. on a weekend.  At this point, even the Netflix account seems concerned as it asks, “Are you still watching?” There are feelings of judgment and shame over a poor sleep schedule. “One more episode. Just one more episode…”

It seems that technology is our best friend. With technology, we can send messages instantly, check on the news, catch up with old friends on social media, and even communicate with people from across the world. Technology has certainly helped us through quarantine periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. With social media, Facetime, Zoom, and online learning, we felt unstoppable with the things we were able to accomplish in isolation. We have the access to the technology of which our ancestors could only dream. We should be living in a kind of utopia.

Even with all of its benefits, technology has its downsides. I often find myself overwhelmed after being bombarded with constant news updates. Turns out, I am not the only one. In 2017, American Psychological Association found in a survey that 56 percent of Americans experience stress from news consumption. I enjoy reading about world events and I think it is good to be knowledgeable about what is going on in the world. However, it is okay to step back and disconnect from the news. It is even necessary, sometimes. It is important to remind yourself that just because you step away from the news, it does not mean that you don’t care about the tragedies of the world. It just means that you need to put yourself first.

Technology benefits me every day, whether by using my laptop to send an email to a professor, listening to music, or talking with my family on the phone. We rely on technology as a major tool for communication. On the other hand, this tool tends to fail us at times, destroying expected communications. Since we rely heavily on technology, we feel helpless when it breaks down. If my phone runs out of battery power, I am immediately limited in how I can communicate. It’s honestly pathetic that we are so reliant on these small devices in our pockets.

One of the most common issues I have with technology happens when I am on FaceTime with a friend from home. Oftentimes, my friend will cut me off in the middle of a story and say, “Sorry, I didn’t hear that. The connection cut out.” I will sigh and say, “Sorry, I’ll go to the other side of my dorm. The connection works well on the right side, but not the left side.”

While I complain about my phone connection going in and out at random times, I think that I should be more appreciative of this small device, even if the connection isn’t very good. After all, my phone still allows me to talk to my friend in Chicago while I am here in Dubuque. Even if the connection is slow, it is still faster than sending a letter.

Citing a study, The Huffington Post stated, “Many young adults spend a third of their waking lives on their device.” This study found that young adults spend an average of five hours a day on their phones. Considering this study, I cannot help but be concerned about the amount of time our generation wastes on mindless scrolling. Our generation seems to be aware that we are using our phones too much, but everyone might be too addicted to stop. Why do we all seem fine with this “addiction”?

We can all agree that our society has come very far in terms of technology. Although technology has caused a lot of stress in life, it has also helped us in our everyday lives. Daily communication would be very restricted without our phones. I think that our society needs to find a balance between the virtual world and the real world.

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