What Do We Do With Ourselves?
Our reliance on technology knows no bounds. Why, without technology, we wouldn’t have that boon to civilization known as Netflix. If we didn’t have technology, for instance, we wouldn’t be able to reheat coffee in the microwave, we would get lost endlessly because we’d have to actually read a map instead of relying on a GPS and we wouldn’t be able to entertain our kids because we couldn’t just give them a tablet and expect that they’d occupy themselves for hours on end.
In all seriousness, many of us rely on technological advancements like laptops and tablets because of what we do for a living – or at least, part of what we do. Bankers, for instance, would certainly be lost today unless technology kept up with what they were doing. Those who were responsible for mutual funds might have to go back to the “old days” of reading a ticker tape in order to see whether a stock has gone up or down. Newspaper reporters wouldn’t be able to simply research information through the search engine of their choice; they might actually have to physically see the person about whom they are writing a story rather than simply FaceTime or even give them a call on the phone.
Even teachers enjoy a certain reliance on technology. Photocopiers have now become printers, fax machines and devices through which you can simply automatically email a document, and when those go down, teachers tend to get a little lost, as they have become quite reliant on photocopiers (in particular) to ensure that their lessons are able to be executed so that everyone has a copy of the notes, the exam, or whatever everyone needs a copy of. If teachers actually have to write notes on the board, there might be jokes about how they are kicking it “old school,” with student complaints abound about how their hands are starting to hurt from writing so much.
We use technology for instant translations when we’re taking language classes – ask any teacher of languages and they will tell you of the bane that is Google Translate – and we use technology for instant gratification, whether it’s because we need the distraction of playing some sort of online game or we want to text someone. Sometimes, people will comment, rather wistfully, about times when we didn’t have technology, and how nice it would be if we could only disconnect, yet if we do disconnect, there are many of us who would be so restless and perhaps even jumpy that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.
How Reliant Are We?
Are We More Impatient When Tech Fails?
We use technology for sharing experiences and lives, too. Take siblings that live far apart. One wants to keep up with what the other is doing, so what happens? They certainly don’t write letters – not anymore – that takes too long! So, either a text message is shot out into the ether, a FaceTime call is placed – or even a Facebook video call – or images are streaked back and forth through the messaging app of their choice to show them what, exactly, everyone has been up to. Technology has been an amazing innovation to bring families closer, in many respects, when it used to take weeks or months to send mail back and forth.
Granted, there was a certain excitement that came with waiting for a letter to come back for you in the mail. Postcards when someone was touring some far off land like Newfoundland or Europe were things to be treasured, when they came, and now that we can simply post images on Facebook, or videos on YouTube, or send pictures via text messaging, there seems to be a little bit of that magic lost. We have almost come to expect instantaneous communication, and when it doesn’t happen, we are at a bit of a loss, and wonder if the other person is OK or if they simply are annoyed by us somehow.
Have you ever noticed that even when a microwave seems to take forever to reheat your coffee that the problem doesn’t lie with the device itself – it lies within you? That because we live in such a world where everything has become so instant, we are now almost ridiculously unprepared to the point of almost being impaired by our impatience? As things become more instantaneous, we have become increasingly short fused, and while technology has been a marvellous tool, perhaps it is time to move even a little bit the other way. Perhaps we need that implemented “tech-free time” in order to remind ourselves that not everything is only seconds away, so that we can regain some of that calm and anticipation we used to have when it came to the simple act of communication.
Techless Time - Or Not?
Perhaps we need some of that techless time so that we are reminded that the best things to come are really worth waiting – or working – for. Even in classrooms, where technology has become a marvellous, if not invaluable, tool, students have learned in many respects how to use technology’s powers for evil, so to speak. No one needs to truly know anything when Google is around, and thoughts of going anywhere without your smartphone in tow seems to be greeted with incredulity if not dismay.
Technology, while a wonderful tool, should be treated as exactly that – a tool, not a life source as some treat it as. We often joke about the current generation needing to document every moment of their lives through selfies and videos, yet so many of them have that need to the point of being incredibly angry when their tech is taken from them, either because of a “grounding” from parents or because wi-fi, for whatever reason, has been taken offline.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go Snapchat my friend and post this blog. I’ll FaceTime you later.
Technology And Family Life
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.