The Gustavian Weekly

Technology: A Tool for Taking Over | The Gustavian Weekly

By Jessica Hastings Ereth - Opinion Columnist | November 20, 2015 | Opinion

Students are easy to see with their heads in laptops and phones.

Students are easy to see with their heads in laptops and phones.

Throughout the past twenty years technology has continued to amaze millions of people throughout the world. Today, most people have iPhones, Androids, or other types of smartphones. These smartphones were created to help reduce the need for a computer, and they have. But has their purpose gone too far?

Let’s go back twenty years when the Internet was just starting out. In 1993, John Allen went on a Canadian TV show to explain what the Internet was and how people were using it.

He said, “the Internet is just like the real world, except it was easier to reach more people in more precise ways. In cyberspace, it’s easier to find people who have the same interests because there are more of them and they congregate in carefully labeled areas.”

Smartphones may increase the ease to connect with others, but they cause many more problems in modern society.

Today it seems like people are always on their phones, and when they are not on their phones they feel incomplete. I see many people on a daily basis who are with their friends but do not even look at each other because their technology has become an inseparable part of them.

A friend of mine needed a new phone earlier this year, but when she realized that it would take up to a few weeks before she received her new one it crushed her. It was as if the world was coming to an end, just because of a phone.

I have seen this many times and every time it upsets me just the same. Growing up there was always a rule at my house: no answering the phone during suppertime. Now, I have heard of families who do not even speak to one another because they are so held up on their phones.

Technology has truly become an addiction in modern society. The average American will spend over eight hours a day on technology. This statistic includes time spent on phones, computers, playing video games, and watching TV. This is a drastic change from the average three hours in 1995.

It has become so bad that in some countries there are even rehabilitation centers for those who cannot be parted from technology. It is incredibly interesting to see people spend more time with their phones and computers than with their loved ones.

There are many possibilities from which this addiction has derived. One is the change in our school system. Many schools are trying to get away from using paper, which means that many sources have been updated to be online only.

Throughout high school and my time here at Gustavus I have had teachers assign online homework. In theory, this is wonderful. The waste of paper declines, however doing online assignments can take much more time due to the large amounts of distractions.

Another possibility for the addiction is the use of social media. Many social media websites tend to over send emails and text message notifications, which draw you towards their websites or apps. With the millions of apps available for smartphone users these can help decrease the attention span of users.

These types of media also tend to try and connect us with others 24/7. On Facebook, Twitter, and other types of social media websites you seem to be connected with everyone, and there is always something of interest to look at.

I am guilty of sometimes ignoring others on my phone in social situations. But I believe we should try and take our technology usage down a notch. Having personal relationships with those around you is very important and will get you very far in life. Getting to understand how our lives have changed from technology is important, whether it is a positive or a negative change. I encourage everyone to think about their time spent behind a screen and think about how your life has changed because of it.