Let me ask you a question. Do you use some sort of technology at least once a day? Multiple times a day? If you said yes, you are definitely not alone. Using technology on a daily basis is something that has become a societal norm. With most advertising, marketing and even schooling being predominantly online, it’s hard to NOT use technology!
What I want to focus on today is the big debate of whether or not technology brings us closer together or if it drives us further apart. Technologies such as smart phones and laptops have really only started to advance at a more rapid pace in the last 20 years. Twenty years ago, not everyone had a cell phone and more people had desktop computers. In today’s society, most people have a smartphone and desktop computers have been overtaken by laptops.
Let’s talk about how technology is seen to drive people apart. I find it is mostly the teenage group that is picked on most for technology driving people apart. People often talk about teenagers in a negative way with respect to technology, such as, “All you do is stare at the TV”, “You never hangout with the family anymore” or “Why are you always looking down at your phone? Are we not interesting enough for you?”. Studies do show that teenagers in today’s society do spend more time on social media and technology. However, we have to look at how available it is to these teens.
It makes sense that teens spend more time on technology if it is easier and more available to get to and use. I think it is also a good thing to mention maybe we shouldn’t be saying ‘all teens’ when we refer to the growth in use of technology. This creates a negative assumption on the entirety of a group that just isn’t true. There are many teens that still hangout with their families and don’t have their phone on then 24/7. I also think it is important to mention as well that, instead of berating the teens that maybe are on their phones or some sort of technology more than they should be, we should be educating them and approaching it in a more positive manner.
It is also very important to consider the positive effects of technology. In this time of COVID-19 with quarantining and social distancing, not being able to see some of your biggest supports can have quite a negative impact on your mental health. Technology has done its best to keep people together during this pandemic from Zoom style weddings, birthday parties, business meetings, school and just the odd chat with your friends. Yes, seeing someone over Zoom is definitely not the same as being able to see them in person and give them a huge hug. However, it does give us the opportunity to stay in contact somehow so we are not completely isolated from one another.
Sometimes I believe we are all a little guilty of spending a bit too much time browsing the internet or scrolling on TikTok or Instagram. It is definitely not just teenagers. The amount of time you decide to dedicate to technology, more specifically how you decided to dedicate it, can really make the difference if it brings us together or drives us apart. Two different people could spend two hours on their technology; one might scroll through TikTok for the full two hours while the other person decided to dedicate that time they’re using technology to run their business or work on school.
In conclusion, I think that technology can affect you in any way you allow it to. It really depends on how you consciously decide to use it.