Is Technology Taking Over Our Lives?

By Obinna Asikaburu

In today’s increasingly developed world, we are faced with much different problems and worries than someone who lived in the 1930s would face. For example, when we are out and about going along our day, there comes a time when our cell phone battery is getting low and we are in desperate need of a charger. In the 1930s they faced completely different problems and worries such as making sure there is wood for the fire place. As the days go by, technology gets even more advanced and we engage it head on. Many argue that technology has mostly caused a positive effects to our lives but I beg to differ. This topic is very controversial and exploits problems that everyday citizen including I face. I found this topic fascinating because of how much we really rely on technology.

About 8 years ago, I could count on my fingers how many of many of my friends had a social network. Now having multiple social networks is a must in order to be perceived as normal. The explosion of social media has impacted our lives greatly. It forces us to redistribute our time in order to incorporate our hours of tweeting and instant messaging. There has been an increasing amount of new users on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and many more. The statistics on Facebook development are very intriguing. Worldwide, there are over 1.35 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAUs) which is a 14 percent increase year over year. These numbers show a huge increase in the amount of people who interact online rather than in person. Facebook has worked wonders in connecting friends and families from all around the world who wouldn’t normally get to interact with each other, but the amount of people who spend their time online on Facebook doing absolutely nothing is a large percentage of users.I have witnessed first hand people who remain log in and roam Facebook for hours, wasting their day. This goes the same for Instagram. Often times when people wake up they post some sort of good morning post on Instagram. Checking our social media has become a morning routine for us. Before our routines would be wake up, brush teeth, take a shower, then eat. Now it is wake up, check SMS, check, check twitter, check email & blog, then shower and eat.

Often when traveling, we occupy ourselves with something to do instead of just sitting there bored. Over the years how we occupy ourselves has changed. Take a look a the picture below. This is a picture of commuters reading their newspapers on a train in Philadelphia circa 1955 — decades before the invention of that grossly antisocial device: the smartphone. People got to their destination just like how we do today except they read news papers. Technology now plays a role in almost every single aspects of our daily lives. Now take a look at the second picture below. This is a picture of people on a train in 2014 using their iphones and being plugged in with earphones, blocking their surrounding sounds. It is amazing how much things have changed over the course of 59 years. We have become so heavily involved in whats going on somewhere else and not so involved in our immediate environment. Should technology really impact every aspect of our lives?

Can we imagine living a day without technology? This is a question we should all ask ourselves including those who are in college. As college students go on with college, every student will notice a change in the way the college is operated due to technological advances. Colleges depend on the latest technology to operate and expand. Lets take a look into the impact of technology on Rutgers University. Rutgers offers a variety of online tools such as Sakai. Sakai essentially is a tool that lets instructors and students easily manage online content. On Sakai students can access homework, view announcements, view resources, and many more. It is essential for ever Rutgers student to use Sakai for I cannot imagine going a semester without it. Technology is absolutely needed at Rutgers University. Can you imagine if Rutgers was to loose internet access for a whole day? Rutgers also offers a virtual classroom through Second Life. Second Life allows you to make a avatar in an online Rutgers and enables you to walk around and go from classroom to classroom. This could revolutionize the whole college. In addition to Rutgers virtual classroom, Rutgers also offers online classes that do not require you to ever physically attend. This University relies heavily on technology everyday. Without some of the latest technology Rutgers would not be able to expand to what it is now. This is a case that a huge amount of technology has helped greatly. But do we really need all these features? Do a lot of these features seem useless, unsocial, and lazy. This is a debate that a lot of people don’t know where they stand. Are our U.S Universities to heavily reliant on technology?

In today’s world, finding out information is not hard. We are a simply a click away from exploring whatever we want. Before the invention of the internet, people would have to go the library and look through many books to find exactly what they are looking for. As technology got better and better, we could get information even faster than ever before. Compare the browsing speed of the iphone 3gs to the iphone 6. The difference is huge. Knowledge is at the tip of our fingers. But is this really good for us? Many including me will argue that technology is making us dumber. It allows us to not utilize our brains as much. Now a days with auto correct most of us cannot spell as well as we would without it. Many students in high school instead of reading their assigned book, will look up summaries  and analysis of the book online on sites like sparknotes and cliffnotes. This lets our brains get lazy and avoids using our own skills to figure things out or problem solve. We use our gadgets as our second brain. We can no longer remember much because we store everything we need to remember on our phone or look it up when needed. We are addicted to the internet “No, “Internet addiction” isn’t just some BS term parents throw around to terrify youngsters who spend too much time playing Candy Crush. Spending too much time on the Internet can actually cause changes in the brain that mimic those caused by drug and alcohol dependence, according to a 2012 study.“Our brains are starting to become affected by the amount of technology we use. Technology disrupts our sleeping schedule. A study show that the blue- enriched light found in gadgets like smartphones and tablets, can suppress the body’s release of melatonin at night. Melatonin is a an important hormone that helps control your internal clock, telling your body when it is nighttime and when to feel sleepy. Not sleeping causes memory loss, decrease in focus, and loss in brain tissue. There are many detrimental things technology does to our heath but indeed technology is making us dumber by taking over our lives.

As the years go on we crave technology more and more we start to become more unsocial and prefer technology over living things. In Sherry Turkle’s book “Alone Together” she discusses the affects of technology on us today.  She is a psychoanalytically trained psychologist and places high value on human interactions. She illustrates a time when she took her daughter to the Darwin exhibit at the American museum of Natural History and was in line for something and asked a parent if they cared that the turtles were alive. A 12 year old girl responded, “For what the turtles do, you didn’t have to have the live ones”(Turkle 266). This goes to show how technology is taking over our lives even in our young children. This child is so accustomed to everything around her being electric that she doesn’t see the value of having live turtles in a tank for aesthetic purposes.

Later in Turkle’s book she discusses the book “Love and Sex with Robots” by David Levy. Levy discusses life with a robot as a partner. The book was dedicated to Anthony, an MIT computer hacker who Turkle interviewed in the 1980s. He is a socially awkward person because of how much time he spent with technology. I would say he is a victim of the affects of technology. Turkle says, “In Love and Sex, Levy idealizes Anthony’s accommodation and suggests that loving a robot would be a reasonable next step for people like him”(Turkle 268). Technology has brought us to the point where we can become so socially awkward that we would consider a relationship with a robot. In Turkle’s book she also discusses a lady that says she would trade in her boyfriend for a hip Japanese robot. Technology has brought us to a whole new crazy.

We can only decide for ourselves what we do with the technological advances presented to us. The world has come so far from having huge mobile phones to something as sleek and quick as the iphone. In our everyday lives we have to evaluate how much time we actually spend on our gadgets and social media. For most people it is impossible to go a day without using their phone or login into a social media website. Technology indeed is heading to a place where it will completely own every aspects of our daily lives. We can only try to use it sparingly.

Bloom, Suzanne. Alone Together. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
“Is Technology Taking over Our Lives.” Debate.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.
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