Technology vs. humans: who wins?


Tim Robberts

Cell phone addiction

Caitlin Isaac, Staff Writer

It’s a problem everyone on the planet ignores, a worldwide problem that not one person wants to admit because they are so addicted to the constant stimulation that is a cell phone.

I remember growing up in the user-generated-content era. This is where I created a Myspace page and spent multiple hours chatting with my friends on MSN. At this time I was a whopping 11 years old. My parents allowed me five hours a day on the computer, and two to three hours watching television, which created the gateway to an everlasting urge for attention and content stimulation.

Soon after this stage of innovation, I was handed my first cell phone. Being a preteen in such a world where you could hide from your parents and talk to whoever you wanted about anything you wanted also exposed me to the dangers of the new media technology.

Flash forward to Facebook.

I’m well aware that not every teen growing up experienced bullying, but for someone who did, Facebook was a nightmare. The children in my generation were now skilled at hiding and maneuvering around the Internet. For a victim of bullying, Facebook allowed attackers to come from all sorts of shadows of cyberspace like emails, tagged photos, shared content to numerous cities, and misinterpreted information. The misconstrued idea that my life was this technology, a place where I could run but could not hide, made bullying very easy, and the goal to hurt me was even more effective in the virtual world.

When smart phones found their way into the hands of millions, the addiction became stronger, and the virtual world became even more relevant. The digital natives of my generation now had the virtual world at their fingertips. A computer that they had grown up with now fit in the palm of their hands. Growing up with technology innovation, I imagine, is a lot like when my grandma grew up smoking cigarettes. She didn’t know at 14 the one thing she loved was the one thing that will kill her in the end, but even when she and many others learned that with the buzz came a death sentence, it was too late, for the addiction had already made itself at home in the minds of the naive.

Like a cigarette, a cell phone calms us when we’re stressed or entertains us when we’re bored. Cell phones fulfill our feelings of loneliness when we have never been more alone in our lives. They distract us from the ones we love at dinner, the fun times we could be having with our friends at a party, and even the love we have for our children or pets.

We are starting this new generation of naive innocence with a cell phone in their face.

And for what?

To show everyone how cute and wonderful they are out of our own selfishness? To receive reassurance with likes and shares? I can’t imagine the life they will have. Growing up, bullying will not be a thing of the past. Bullying online will become an overwhelming part of their virtual reality. It will be all too real, because they have been exposed to it since their birth.

With a Catholic’s point of view, one could say that God’s greatest gift to us as people is life, to live the life we want and to live in the reality he has given us.

It is also believed that the devil works in ways to trick people into distracting them away from God’s purpose and goodness. Therefore, the problem and solution seem very clear to me. Cell phones distract us from reality and quality time with our loved ones. Cell phones have exposed us to society in a way where our lives are our profiles, pictures, and emails. The time we spend at dinner with our family is a time where our heads are down, not for prayer, but for fake social interactions with people we don’t even know on a real face-to-face relationship.

The religious family I remember having is now an addict of social media stimulation. As I look up at the plain faces of my family members, I turn my head to the other families in the restaurant—all the same.

I look at the servers at work and see them pulling a drawer open to get their fix of stimulation, even if it is only for a few seconds.

As the human race, we are ignoring this worldwide problem.

This is not what we are intended for. We are social creatures, and now we are living day to day distracted by a tiny screen in our hands.

It’s not our fault we were raised on new media technology and smart phones, but it is our choice whether we let them continue to destroy our perception of reality.

The human race is bowing down to technology when we are underestimating ourselves.

Together we have the power to make a change and live together with the true reality we were given.