Technology Isn't the Problem

With the new technology detox trend, I’ve been a little skeptical. I often get tired of people condemning media and technology as ruining our lives and found it hard to believe that it negatively impacted my life enough for it to be necessary to limit. I decided to try it out for myself before I made any concrete judgements. After only giving it up for 72 hours, here’s what I learned:

1. Good luck making plans without it

It wasn’t until I tracked my media use for two days prior, that I realized how much I rely on my phone in order to make plans with others and to organize things. I found that I relied on it so heavily that during the 72 hours, I still had to use my phone at times to text people about plans because there was no other way to coordinate.

2. My use of media has a significant impact in shaping my relationships

I hadn’t expected the 72 hour detox to have much of an affect on my long distance friends who I talked to regularly via media to stay in touch. However, having since returned to technology, I have found we don’t talk as much. We were in the routine of checking up on each other throughout the day and breaking that routine has forced us to become acclimated to doing other things in place of that. Our relationship is the same and it doesn’t feel any less strong, but our interactions have changed a little.

3. I use technology as a medium of expression for my love and appreciation for people, as well as a way to keep memories

One of the saddest things for me to give up was posting on my snap story. At first, I was disappointed in myself for being so vain. But, then, when I was hanging out with the people I would have been snapping about, I realized that my desire to make stories was not out of an egotistical need to show everyone that I am having a good time (not that that would be a bad thing!). The reason I love posting to my stories is because I love my friends incredibly much and I have an aggressive desire to express how much I love and appreciate them by sharing them with the world. Another main reason I found myself wanting to post was because stories automatically save to memories and I like having those mini broadcasts of what I did with people to look back on at the end of the year.

4. Technology makes procrastination an easy feat

While one side of my media use surrounded a more positive purpose of social interaction, there were not so great ways I used it. I found myself spending a lot of time on my phone just so that I wouldn’t have to be working on the things I needed to get done, which left me not actually working on stuff until really last minute late at night when I had no choice. Giving it up, I was able to be more proactive with my to-do list.

5. All the notifications can definitely be overwhelming

After coming back to technology, the sudden and constant stream of notifications all day has been overwhelming. I realized how much pressure it is to be constantly connected and responding to notifications, and how being away from them allows you to breathe and get more done because you aren’t bound by an obligation.

 

I think the important thing to keep in mind when looking at our relationship with media and technology is that it is neither good, nor bad. Media isn’t awful because it takes control of our lives in ways it hasn’t before, and it isn’t incredible because it allows us to be connected. It is a neutral tool that has the potential for a multitude of things (both good and bad)–it can be useful, connective and distracting. It is how we choose to use it that has negative and positive impacts in our lives and if we are to be critical of media and technology, it is important that we are thoughtful in considering how our personal choices surrounding it affects the impact it makes.

We are in control of technology, even though sometimes it seems like the opposite.  

 

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