Technology: Progression or Domination?

Alexus Brown, Staff Writer

There was once a time when people had patience and enjoyed being in the presence of one another. That has now changed as the world becomes more interconnected than ever before. The use of technology converted from being a privilege to a necessity. Generation after generation, society steadily progresses into a greater tech savvy realm that does not know the limitations our ancestors had once dealt with.  The use of technology is a double edged sword: while it provides people with accessibility to information at all times and makes life easier, it is accidentally ruining the skill to gain knowledge.

The constant need to be linked up to everybody and everything is commonly found in teenagers to young adults.  With the new trend of having Smartphones and the latest laptops, young people today are forgetting certain abilities that should have lasted for the rest of their lives.  Instead of reading books, students now just look up the answers online. The quicker information is becoming available to people, the quicker it is for them to not remember it after some minutes.  Because of technology, people are unable to wait for things, and get easily frustrated.  If it takes less than one second for a page to load on the computer screen, two seconds to refresh the page loading, or five minutes to restart a computer, people become insanely irritable. This age group relies so heavily on the usage of technology that they would go literally crazy without it.

According to the University of Glasgow, it is reported that college students check their emails between 40 to 50 times per day.  Many of the students find receiving an email or text very distracting that they stop conversing with friends or eating dinner to respond.  Others even reply to text messages at 3 AM despite it being a workday.  However, college students aren’t the only ones addicted to technology; in fact middle aged adults have gotten sucked in as well.  Famous Hollywood star Alec Baldwin was kicked off a plane because he refused to turn off his phone whilst playing the popular game ‘Words With Friends’.

Since a majority of people found it difficult to shut down their devices, they are actually getting sick. The newspaper, Huffington Post reports that constant interruptions from technology on daily lives are taking its toll on people’s bodies.  Those addicted to phones and such suffer from chronic headaches, insomnia, and overheating the brain with the overuse of multitasking. The body needs a resting period, much like a computer, or it will have problems.

The dangers of obsessing over technology can be deadly.  In Taiwan an 18 year old boy played videogames for 40 straight hours and died.  He was trading physical contact for virtual contract, something humans should not gorge in because we are sociable creatures. This hurts productivity and personal interactions severely. The cause for the insatiable yearning for technology is the fact that people don’t want to be alone. People’s greatest fear is to be alone with their thoughts and feelings, so to cope with that technology supplies an escape from reality.  It has been discovered by scientists that people using technology can develop similar brain chemistry and neural patterning to those that abuse substances.  In a New York Times article, it stated that the chemical dopamine actually gets released during pleasurable activities like videogames, surfing the web, and speaking on phones rather than taking illegal drugs.

People are overlooking the fact that all things must come in moderation.  The line between balancing real life and virtual life is blurring.  People’s focus and self-awareness has dwindled due to technology.  Even society’s children find it difficult to tell the time if it isn’t a digital clock. More than 3,000 people lost their lives to distracted driving because of texts or phone calls.  A doctor even made ten phone calls in the operation room, causing a patient to become partially paralyzed according to The Altantic. Interactive gadgets produce an unrelenting sense of emergency and trigger stress systems in the body like a mother who lost her child.  Numerous teenagers and adults experience the feeling of anxiety if their cell phone is not with them.

On the other hand, technology can be extremely helpful, and there is enough proof throughout recent years by how much free time people have now compared to our ancestors, who did most activities by hand instead of computers.  The FAA approved that airplane pilots could now use iPads to help with flying, and security cameras can point out the lies in alibis. Wi-Fi in hospitals checks in on patients’ rooms to make sure doctors and nurses are properly doing their job.  However, a disturbing amount of people are not concentrating when it is a life or death situation as technology grows into an epidemic.  People are running, riding bikes, stepping off curbs without hearing warnings of honks, seeing stop lights, or sensing a predator.  Headphones clog up ears and miniature screens hold eyes attention.  Technology is leading to humanity’s progression in transportation and medicine, but it is also dominating the lives of people in an unhealthy way with children slowly picking up the addiction.  The incessant craving for technology is leading society away from what matters most, actually stimulating the brain in a positive way, and meeting people face to face to develop healthy social relationships.