Friday, July 30, 2010

Technology’s Adverse Effects on Society

No matter what a person’s age or level of education is, they always want to get the latest gadgets in order to keep up with today’s trends. With the advancement of technology changing so rapidly, this has affected the way people are communicating with each other.

Yes, technology has proven to be a powerful tool for society. Such inventions as the automobile, telephone, and the computer have helped make work and social life much easier, more efficient, and at times enjoyable. Some people feel that having a computer and a cell phone is a necessity in life. Are people becoming too obsessed with having electronics? Is there a possibility it is dangerous?

It seems every year cell phones continue to improve; and with that many people want to get the latest device, such as the recent iPhone craze. Across the country, people were willing to wait outside of several electronic stores for hours, (not to mention pay hundreds of dollars) just to get one. Some admit they just can’t live without their cell phone! Some take this obsession with cell phones even further by jeopardizing other people's lives, because they want to text or call someone while driving.

In a recent study, conducted by Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group, titled, “The Digital Family”, in which 1,083 kids and 1,061 parents were tracked to see if computers and the internet had an effect on basic skills. They were surprised to find that 23% of parents and 33% of kids agreed that they no longer needed to make casual conversation.

Because of an increase in technology affecting every aspect of a person’s life, people are embracing these changes, while certain individuals that are not technologically savvy are finding that they have no choice but to accept it. This has caused them to develop a form of anxiety known as “technophobia.” Though some haven’t quite developed a fear of advanced technology, they still choose to avoid the annoying intrusions of electronic devices, such as cell phones used in public areas, like in a movie theater or restaurant. Instead they believe in social interaction on a personal, face-to-face level. “The convenience of emails and video conferences just cannot entirely replace the feeling and warmth of a person’s handshake or presence,” says blogger, Wenbin Nah in an article titled, “Technology’s Effect on Interpersonal Communication.”

Many people are divided about technology. Some feel that technology has brought their family much closer. Others feel that the advancement of technology has added stress and financial hardship to their life, because they have to overwork themselves to pay for the latest (costly) gadgets. Identity theft is also a cause for concern.

Parents complain that they feel less connected with their kids, who are too busy texting friends or constantly playing video games. Adults also worry about who their children are communicating with over the internet.

Yes, everyone agrees that advance technology has caused major breakthroughs in the fields of medicine, science, education, and business; however, when people do not a have balanced view of technology, it can become very addictive and the results can be disastrous. On September 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, California a Metrolink train had collided head on with another train. This accident had injured 125 passengers and killed 25 people, including the driver of the train. Further investigation showed that the driver of the train was text messaging right before the crash happened. Following this shocking event, the state of California had passed a law banning the use of text messaging while driving.

As technology continues to change one thing remains the same and that is time. People are always saying they wish they had more hours in a day to complete all of their tasks. Advanced technology has definitely made life more convenient and has brought people around the world much closer; but there is a downside to it. For example, though technology has helped shorten the time it would take to complete a task, it has caused some to add more to their “to do list.” They take on so many responsibilities that they increase their work load to the point of exhaustion. So what was once convenient now seems like a burden.

In his book, The Technological Society, author Jacques Ellul states how technology is so common in people’s lives that they feel they can not function without them. He observed that “modern man’s state of mind is completely dominated by technical values and his goals are represented only by such progress and happiness as is to be achieved through techniques.” He pleads that mankind should focus more on the social concerns happening in the world. But as time goes on technology will still keep advancing. So as long as we live in a technologically-filled world, let’s do our best to have a balanced view of electronics.

Written by: Bridget Campos

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