Maggie Prutznal (Put it Down & Look Around)
Put It Down & Look Around
We often fear that “robots” and technology will one day take over the world, but the devices we use every day are turning us into robots and are our own worst enemy. Though we may not realize it, tech devices are slowly taking away our self-control and our lives.
It is no secret that, as college kids, we are compelled to tweet, snap, like, and text to stay in the loop. It is easy to think that we don’t spend that much time scrolling through Instagram or Tweeting our feelings, but a study done by Baylor University proves otherwise. Baylor’s study of college students found, “Women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight…”
Clearly, our phones are our life, but having them glued to us is a bigger issue that we think. From the book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter, the author focuses on tech addiction and the negative consequences that stem from it. In the chapter, “The Rise of Behavioral Addiction,” Alter explains that this type of addiction is becoming more and more prevalent in society.
According to Alter, “These [Technology] addictions make our lives less worthwhile, make us less effective at work and play, and diminish our interaction with other people.” Alter goes on to talk about how we can no longer think for ourselves, and we give up many of the things we used to enjoy like hobbies and socializing, as we fall victim to our devices.
With all of the distractions that technology provides us with, we end up losing sight of what really matters in life such as family, friends, or goals. We have become so numb that we even have trouble feeling empathy; without looking at someone in person, it is hard to put ourselves in their shoes. In fact, in Alter’s research, “One analysis of seventy-two studies found that empathy had declined among college students between 1979 and 2009.”
Phones force us to live life behind a screen, inhibiting us to really connect. They don’t allow us the privilege of meeting people in person, holding a real conversation, and developing skills to be empathetic, social creatures of society. We take on a different role on social media than in real life. The question is: is our online voice the one we want to portray?
Of course, technology allows us to connect to college students from different countries, cultures, and classes, but how does that help us in the long run? It’s great to learn about others and make new friends; however, what happens when we meet face to face and have nothing to discuss but that new Instagram post or Snapchat feature?
Yes, it is hard for college kids, or anyone for that matter, to unplug. Society makes us feel that the only way to be relevant is to have thousands of followers and likes. On the other hand, we need to be able to see that it’s not the random online “friends” who share a smile when we’re down, who make us laugh uncontrollably, or who high five us for a job well done.
It is simple; technology prevents us from living. We don’t have rich experiences that shape us. We don’t have the motivation to be adventurous. We don’t have the will to explore new worlds. We just have our phones.
It is obvious that technology is only getting more and more advanced. So, there really is no getting around it. We could try, however, to live more and text less. Let’s not keep our phones with us 24/7. Let’s set aside time to enjoy technology, not obsess over it. Let’s remember that there is a world out there that isn’t filtered.
Phones, T.V., laptops, and video games aren’t necessities in life, but they often make us feel necessary. They are a part of our lives, but we can’t give them the power to take away living life.