We’ve come a long way since the very first computer was built. It took up an entire room and was only available for government purposes. Right after the first calculator was ever created they went forward with that technology to come up with computers that were used to try and encrypt certain Nazi messages during World War II (Computer History). This technology over the next couple years would lead to the process of compacting and improving all aspects, that way you and I could have one in our very own home.
Once this happened, it was a series of technological dominos that would fall, slowly but surely, making way for more and more advancements with internet and etc. Before you knew it we took something from an entire room and made it to where you can easily place it in your pocket. There are even certain technologies out there like the Google glasses, which bring to life the theme of M.T. Anderson’s book, The Feed. One would think that all of this is a good thing, but I’m here to tell you that anything that is made for the good is quickly used for evil. The very technology that is meant to help, is hindering us and what was meant to connect us, causes loneliness.
Technology causes a loneliness that could be very easily controlled if we would only break the grip that technology has on our society. We are finding more and more that people are losing all common curtesy and using phones whenever or where ever they want. One study has proven that 48% of people would have no problem using their phone during church, a time that is already reduced down to 2 hours on a Sunday. The time we could be spending talking to love ones, GONE! 77% of smartphone users have said that they would have no problem using the phone in the bedroom with somebody else there.
The time spent with that person outside the bedroom, on date is now less with 23% of smartphone users saying they would have no problem being on their phone during this time. Some of us may not even meet that special person to experience these technological issues at all with 35% of people agree that they have or would use a phone to avoiding talking to someone (Rehema, It’s Official). You may have just missed an ample opportunity to make a connection with another human being that may have had quite the positive impact on your future.
We have come to rely on our phones so much, that to step outside our door and forget it at home creates a sense of panic; we feel naked. You go back in time and life continued on with no problem without phones. But technology is like any other drug; once you have a small taste you can easily become hooked and always have to have it. Just like any other person that struggles from addiction, it would blow your mind the things that they would do to get their hands on that “drug.” One study offered people the chance to experience alone time, with nothing but their thoughts and we hated it.
They couldn’t concentrate and felt that their minds were wondering, which to me is a good thing because your letting your imagination run free, but to them it was bad. They wanted that mind numbing, new age definition of the ability to “focus.” They would do anything to get their hands on their phone. They were all given an electric shock before the study and said, “They would pay to avoid experiencing it again.” (Tanya, Men Prefer) When offered that alone time, “A quarter of the women in the study and a whopping two-thirds of the men chose to shock themselves.” (Tanya, Men Prefer) We would rather cause our bodies’ physical harm then spend one on one time with our own thoughts, there is nothing to fear that lies within our minds.
It’s a drug that has its ways of getting a hold of people younger and younger; in an effort to plant these psychological roots deep within our conscious minds that tells us this luxury must become a necessity. As the generations that have started this technological advancement try to catch up with how far things have gotten, there grandchildren are becoming rocket scientist on the matter. Computer classes are becoming more and more common in the high schools every year. One study found that kids who are only six years old know more than a person who’s 45. (Alasdair, Are You Baffled) They were tested on the overall abilities and six year olds scored a 98% that would increase to about 115% once they’re a teen. The average person in their forties only scores a 96% that would only increase upon learning from their own grandchildren. Now I’m no saint and I’ll admit that I have given my nine month old my cell phone just to keep her occupied at times; plenty of parents have done it on long drives throughout town.
What scares me are the percentages of people that won’t put their phone away during inappropriate times or during family time at home. Kids are constantly studying our every move and if we show them that this is the norm, we could see an end to one on one communication and playing outside and a lack of imagination that built this country. I’m not the only one to notice these changes in society, there are plenty of stories from Time Magazine and ABC News and etc. that all ask the same question concerning the aftermath of technology. There are even restaurants that know, as a frugal society we would do anything to save a buck our two so they offer you a %10 discount for just leaving your phone with them.
The name of the restaurant is Beirut’s Bedivere Eatery & Tavern in Lebanon. To ensure that people enjoy a meal the way that it should be done, they ask you to surrender your phone to them before being seated. (Neetzan, Restaurants Offer) This is a sensation that is sweeping the nation as well. There were a couple restaurants in Texas that would offer up to %20 off your bill during the holiday’s season if you would just surrender the phone, instead of answering the call of your curiosity when your phone made that notification sound. You know that if it comes down to essential paying a person to put down the phone and talk with one another that some kind of problem lies near.
There are effects to the over use of technology. Besides receiving less one on one time with loved ones we are also receiving less sleep. One study found that the average person will actually use their phone 8 hours and 41 minutes a day and sleep 8 hours and 21 minutes a day (Rehema, It’s Official). Now it’s only 20 minutes right? Yet there’s only 24 hours in day and even if you divided it up evenly between work, sleep and phone and everyone had an equal 8 hours each; someone would be left out. There is no room for the important things in life, or that phone time is going to cut into other seconds of the day life work or sleep and we’ll have to sacrifice some of those hours. Texting has already been linked to sleep deprivation. Washington and Lee University in Virginia found out that the more text messages you send the less sleep you will receive. The study focused on college students and they asked how many messages that they would send on an average day and those who sent 100 plus text messages a day were more likely to be run down and exhausted (Rehema, It’s Official). Out of the 80 undergrad college students that took place in this study, 40 percent of them that send a lot of text messages agreed that they only feel rested two days a week. We know this is true; I’m just as guilty we have to know the reason for that noise.
Now the mind is not the only thing being affected by this technological craze. Our bodies are also being affected; these phones are killing our back. Yes, an item that is just under a pound is causes us to experience back pain. Playing on our cell phones and tablets has created something that they refer to as “I-posture.” (Daily Mail, Do You Suffer) “I-posture” is the stooped body shape that comes with arching the back so we can text and play games. From the ages of 18 – 24, 84 % have admitted to suffering from back pain (Daily Mail, Do You Suffer). Which is racking up an average 1.5 sick days; may not be a problem for most but if you’re in a situation like mine (living paycheck to paycheck) every penny counts. Most business will not grant you sick pay until you have been sick for 2-3 days, so for those that fall just under that, you will receive nothing for missing work. It’s only a matter of time for those people that have “blue collar” jobs; lifting 8 hours a day and using their phone 8 hours a day that will cause their body to snap. A muscle can only take so much stress and 16 hours a day of strain and stress will take its toll. Anyone who has experienced back pain knows that there is no getting around; when the core of your body is affected, there’s nothing that person can do.
Phones can also alter your personality. If you’re the type of person that would stop to help someone in need, if you were on your phone there’s a good chance you wouldn’t take that second to lend a hand, even though it only takes one hand to operate a cell phone. One study took average people who were on their cell phones and average people who were not making phone calls and put them all in the same situation. Without them knowing a random person dressed to be a wounded veteran would come by and drop a stack of magazines. Out of the 33 people using phones, there were only 9% that stop to help this person for just a second. For the 29 people that weren’t using their phones a whopping 72% stopped to help.
We are already consumed by work and have such little time for the true things in life. We have made it easier to be contacted by work; there is no punching out from a cell phone. Your boss can still contact and ask you to take care of business matters outside the office. It turns us into another possible outcome for the zombie apocalypse. You have no idea the impact just a few seconds of kindness can have on a person. We all know the story of the student that was cleaning out their locker one day and was dropping books left and right, it was the kindness of one person who offered to help carry those books that sparked a friendship that saved that kids life. It wasn’t until they graduated that they actually stood up and told the whole class that they were planning on committing suicide that day and it was the kindness of one person that made that person change their mind. That kid had a 72% chance of survival that day, would he still have stood up and gave the world his speech if he only had a 9% chance?
Seeing how things have shifted only has me concerned for the future. There is a book that is written by M.T. Anderson and it’s called, “The Feed” and I feel that this book is a small glimpse into the future of what our world could be if we don’t try and take control. In their world technology has gotten to a point to where they have a direct link going right to their brain. (Anderson, Feed) Anything they want to know all they have to do is think about it and BOOM! You got it. Everybody is falling for this “Feed” except for one girl that will open the eyes to one boy on what is truly going on. We notice in the book that there is mental and physically affect that this “Feed” has on everybody. Now even though they are blown out of proportion I find it interesting that we and those characters both share physical and mental side effects from a source of technology that is always trying to making things easier for us.
They use this technology in the book to advertise. I mean if you’re thinking about a certain kind of food, you’re going to want it. Just like the feed we have left advancements in technology hinder our learning abilities. People in the book have a hard time talking in the form of a complete sentence; they never have to learn they only had to search and brain just remains in limbo that way. I myself can say that my spelling and grammar is hindered because all I have to do is right click the green or red underline word and look for my options. I don’t have to think about numbers and how they form the answer in math as long as I have my calculator. They were meant to assist but we use them as a crutch and we need to be careful.
So what do we do? How can we stop this from happening? There is answer to that question that you won’t have to google, because I have already done it for you. There are seven steps that a person can do to break/control the chains of technological slaver when it comes to our cell phones. For some this will come as an easy task and for others a difficult struggle. Step one is referred to as “Talk now, text later.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) If you’re engage in some kind of activity outside the confinement of your home, reply to all emails, tweets and texts later in the day when there’s nothing else going on. We have access too so much and people know that, so they will take advantage in that fact. If it were me I would turn my phone off when you go to work and turn it on at lunch and at the end of the day. For those who are worried about missing something important you can notify those close to you the number of your work for emergencies or just leave it as the message people will receive as an option.
“Take a phone free day.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) all of these phones have an off button and I’ll be the first to say that I feel a huge sense of joy on those weekend get-a-ways were there’s no service and silence is the only thing I hear. You’ll be amazed at some of the things you’ll notice once you eliminate the distractions. It’s similar to taking a ride in a car. The car makes getting from one place to another a lot easier but you miss so much until you finally walk that road and take it all in. You notice places and things that you never knew existed. By disarming your phone you can experience the third step to “Avoid being a search-it-all.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) You will have to trust your instinct and your gut when it comes to things such as directions. Your GPS will be unable to show you the way so you will have to go on a journey, a quest. The best way we have ever learned is by trial and error and when looking for one thing we always find another, so you’re always learning something new. At night “Kiss your phone goodnight.”
“The screens on electronic devices emit blue light, which your brain associates with daylight. Exposure plays havoc with your body clock.”(Chalfield, Seven Rules) This goes hand in hand with what we have covered in the physical affects that our phones have on our bodies. “Elbows and phones off the table” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) and I think that we should also add TV off during this time as well. Life is busy and it only gets crazy the further we go. There is one chance that we have to connect and be a part of everyone’s life each night and that’s around the dinner table. Ask about each other’s day, what was good? What was bad? Dinner is a time to talk about future vacations and a time to be grateful for what we have. Technology will only get in the way of that and distract us from those moments and keep us all wrapped up in the chaos of everyday life.
“Look before you snap.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) This is one that I need to work on. We have all been to performances were they ask you to please not use flash photography. For some, it will ensure that you cannot make money off of the performance, but for others it’s a distraction. So they ask you to truly look at what you are taking pictures of and see if there’s a disturbance you could be causing. We feel that we have to capture it in camera to be able to cherish it always but it’s as the author put it as he describes the excitement of being a new father, “I treasure the video and images I took around my son’s birth. But I treasure them because they point me towards something else: the experiences I lived, intensely and entirely, in those moments.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules)
“Taste before you upload.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) we want to share our every thought with the world but we let our emotions get the best of us. Take a second and look over what it is that you are posting. What positive and negative effect could this have on the people that see it? Make sure that you are always presenting yourself in the best way possible and avoid saying anything in anger. In times like this I would think of the old words from mama, “If you can’t say anything nice, just don’t say anything at all.”
Lastly a code of conduct is their last words of advice for fighting this battle. British author Tim Harford has said, “Smartphones are habit-forming, so think about the habits you want to form.” (Chalfield, Seven Rules) By having these words to live by and having others know this about you might help give you the extra edge you need to have you be in control of your phone instead of your phone being in control of you.
In conclusion we have looked at the issue of technology, especially phones being a hinder and controlling our every move. I’ve showed you the psychologically and physically effects that it can have on the human body. I’ve given you the steps to use so that you can cut back the amount of time spent on the phone or to cut yourself free of it all together. I myself accept the challenge to treat my phone like a job. I’ll shut my phone on during work and during night time. I’ll only use it as long as it doesn’t hinder the company that I’m with. I will demonstrate the power of the off button and I ask you to do the same thing in just demonstrating one day off from your phone. Just one day shut your phone off and see what happens before it’s too late. You can always see what you missed on your phone; you can’t get back to what you missed in life. So when it comes to technology you don’t have to let go completely but we definitely need to loosen the grip.
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