Mo’ Tech, Mo’ Problems
Technology – can’t live without it. It seems slightly problematic that I’m writing this article on a Macbook, using research I found from web searches on Google, all while listening to music from a relaxing morning playlist on Spotify. That’s what technology has done, it’s permeated almost all aspects of our lives, so much that envisioning doing even the most simple and mundane of tasks without it is unfathomable. Here, I try my best to play devil’s advocate and explore how technology has created additional problems for us and changed our lives for the worst.
We all have that aunt who won’t stop reposting minion and wine memes on Facebook. That’s not the worst of it – technology, and social media especially has created a virtual world where nothing is sacred or private anymore. Thanks to social media, I know all the names and ages of the kids of a girl I went to high school with, I know where they vacationed as a family last Christmas, and I know that one of them caught chickenpox last month which made her very distressed. I haven’t seen or spoken to this girl in 5 years, but I probably know more about her life than I do some of my friends I see almost every day. I’m sure you can think up an example of this to relate to. Not only do social networks eliminate any sort of privacy, but they leave behind the burden of excess information. That’s something beyond our control – tech enables, and most importantly, encourages, this sort of oversharing.
Do it for the ‘gram
With 400 million daily users, Instagram Stories is unstoppable. It’s addictive. It’s also bad news. As a fairly young person, all my friends are on Instagram. Even my parents are starting to get in on the act. The pressure that social media has put on us to “do it for the ‘gram’” is intense. I can’t remember the last time I went on vacation and didn’t upload some sort of “look, I’m on holiday!” type-post on Instagram. It’s not just Instagram – the instant gratification we get from social media has made me the first to admit I’ve become sort of, well, self-obsessed. It’s a vicious cycle we’ve become trapped in thanks to technology: we see other people living their best life on social media, posting their highlight reel. Then we feel the need to emulate another person’s behaviour or life, just to post it. Sadly, it’s so inescapable that most of us are guilty of it 😢
Oh, and it’s not as harmless as copying a friend. Recently, members of Instagram collective HighOnLife passed away after attempting to complete stunts to upload to their YouTube channel. Just last month, a woman was charged with fatally shooting her boyfriend after a YouTube stunt went wrong. Want more unsettling news? More people are killed each year taking dangerous selfies than from shark attacks. Doing it for the ‘gram isn’t sounding so appealing to me anymore.
Anything you want, at the push of a button
Last week, as I battled the flu, I ordered a Deliveroo from the restaurant opposite my flat. I blamed this despicable act of laziness on my inability to muster enough strength to leave my bed, let alone climb 4 flights of stairs. The entire order, from launching the app until the sweet roo rider was at my doorstep, took just 7 minutes. Even faster, I think, than if I had gone to the restaurant, queued, ordered and walked home, food in hand. And with far less effort. Similarly, people have started telling me how they never step foot in real stores anymore. They choose to buy a 5-pack of toothbrushes off Amazon because it’s cheaper and comes right to your door. Can you relate?
While I appreciate the way technology has simplified life, I can’t help but feel I’m being spoilt. Is everything really supposed to be that easy? Plus, without physically having to go out to transfer money, order groceries, and talk to people, our health is bound to suffer – WHO cites physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer in the world. Tech may make things easier, but does it make things too easy?
U R Dumped
Ever since the evolution of the smartphone, talking on the phone has become a thing of the past. Kids don’t call anymore. You’d have better luck finding out what your grandkids are up to by looking at their Facebook wall. It’s no surprise that texting and other instant-messaging mediums have become the number 1 form of communication. Beyond just a casual conversation, it’s now the norm to use iMessage or WhatsApp for important conversations and subject matters. Gone are the days where dumping someone via text was inexcusable and cold. We fight over text, we make up over text, we send birthday greetings via text, we even work over text. It just leaves me wondering – has technology made us lose our sincerity?
May I Have Your Attention Please?
With Netflix and Spotify taking over conventional entertainment platforms, sitting through commercial breaks are a hassle of the past. While this is well and good, there is a downside to this: where did our attention spans go? Can anyone else admit to not being able to sit through a movie, meeting or family dinner without checking their phone? 🙋Whether it’s scrolling through Facebook while waiting in traffic, or online shopping during a movie, technology has made me fidgety and impatient, waiting for the next form of instant gratification.
Technology: a Double-Edged Sword
While these problems would be solved if we decided to banish technology, it’s hard to ignore the good it’s done. By enabling people to walk again and connecting long-lost family members, maybe we should start changing the way we use technology instead of blaming it for causing new problems. After all, technology is man-made — and it ultimately becomes what we make of it.