Is Technology Helping or Hurting Us?

In light of the recent hurricane, I couldn't help but notice how dependent I have become on technology. When we lost power, my roommates and I were clueless as to what to do with ourselves. Normally, when granted free time, we plop in front of the TV for hours on end. This time, however, we had to be creative. We ended up playing cards, something I have always loved, but had forgotten how much. I didn’t realize how distracted I was by my devices.

Later that day, I decided to drive to Atlanta. My phone battery was dwindling, and it eventually died. As luck would have it, the two battery cords I brought with me somehow simultaneously broke, and I was left completely phoneless. In the past, I have always used my phone for GPS. Whether it was Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze, I was always covered. This time, I was forced to use my own navigational skills. Not surprisingly, I got lost. I pulled over at a random gas station in Southern Georgia and invested in a map. It is with great embarrassment that I tell you I didn’t know how to use it. I fumbled with the folded paper frantically until the gas station owner took pity on me and gave me directions. It was nighttime and the signs were dark, but with a little luck and a lot of desperation, I managed to make it to my destination.

Courtesy: Daily Mail

However, my inability to navigate scared me. What other abilities had I forgone by depending solely on technology? I realized that I depend on my phone for virtually everything. Perhaps the most common phrase of this generation, besides “add me!” is “Google it.” Don’t know how to cook? Google it. Need Halloween costume ideas? Google it. Looking for a movie theater near you? Google it. Thanks to Smartphones, accessibility to Google—our most trusted confidant—is limitless. It’s a wonder to think that our parents had to figure everything out for themselves. How did they live!? I know this sounds crazy, but the answer is they used their brains! The human brain is extremely adaptable and can absorb an almost infinite amount of knowledge. So why do we need technology? The truth is we don’t. It’s a gift. Technology was made to facilitate our lives. Without a washer/dryer, we would have to hand wash our clothes, and then hang them to dry. It takes much longer this way, believe me. In times like those, technology helps us. But other times, like when I was forced to use my essentially nonexistent sense of direction, technology hurts us. When did this shift occur? Why didn’t we notice?

Next time you are out in a public place, see for yourself how technology affects us. Observe the environment around you. How many people are looking at a screen? How many of them are also walking while doing so? How many of us will have neck and thumb issues later in life? Even when we are out in real time with real people, we are messaging or Snapchatting or Facebooking someone across the world. Why do we do this? Because we can. What if one day we can’t? What will we do then?