I’m sure you can remember a time when someone told you to put your phone away to pay attention, like that strict high school teacher who thought using a phone in class was on par with texting and driving. Alternatively, it may have been your parents or grandparents, while asking you why you’re always on your phone. It seems that many have this mindset that technology takes away from our lives or the quality of conversation. In recent times, though, it has actually been helping to connect us.
Technology allows us to do frivolous things like toast bread from hundreds of miles away with a “smart” toaster, or see what’s on the inside of the refrigerator from the living room couch. But more importantly, it has been extremely efficient in forming and keeping connections between people.
It’s the best way to keep in contact with family, friends and the world around you. The uses of technology range from safety to productivity to entertainment, all being easily accessible to most people. It’s increasing the number of ways to stay in contact with other people. So why do so many argue that technology takes away from life interaction?
The standard before digital technology for spreading information, organizing events or just hanging out with friends was to do so in person. With technology all of a sudden becoming this standard in younger generations一texting, video chatting, the Internet一it is easy to see how people who grew up in times where word of mouth was required for communication view technology as something that devalues in-person interaction.
Once you left your friends or family, you couldn’t efficiently get in contact with them, giving a lot of value to face-to-face interaction. But we younger generations that are growing up seeing texting and calling as the standard now put all that value into the technology that allows us to do it. Lose your phone now and what goes through your mind is something between the thoughts of “it’s the end of the world” and withdrawal.
It’s not a bad thing that technology has become the new standard for communication though. It adds all these ways of being productive (or the very opposite) so that life becomes more simplistic or enjoyable. It may also be called “lazy,” but humans inherently strive to do more all while consuming less power, so it’s technically (literally and figuratively) the right direction.
I’m not saying that you should text your sibling across the dinner table because we’re biologically supposed to waste as little energy as possible, but this technology is here for us to use and it’s not going away any time soon. It needs to be more accepted as a primary form of communication instead of ridiculed as a distraction from the natural world.
Jason Richards is a first-year computer engineering major. He is arguably the best cook at the Jolly Scholar.