Times Like This

January 13, 2010
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Think back to that time when you were trying to have a conversation with that person who was texting or updating their facebook and twitter profile. Did that person have a clue you were trying to talk to them? Was that person aware of how they were isolating themselves? No, probably not. When people are to busy playing on their phones and searching the Internet it’s like they are completely cutting themselves off from society, because it’s like their living in a whole other world and all of their focus and attention is centered to their technology. This happens a thousand times a day, all over the world. And this worldwide obsession is causing one to dive deep into inner desolation and self-gloominess. Technologies, the Internet, texting, etc., these are the things that are forcing people to pull one’s self away from the world, away form reality, and into harsh despair.

You may ask, “But how do we know that the use of technologies is causing people to dive into quarantine?” Well, it is said that the use of the Internet and constant texting can and is resulting in stress and depression. In Bob Affonso’s goal to tell the world facts and myths about technological impact, he says that in “A recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University concludes that Internet use leads to small but statistically significant increases in misery and loneliness and a decline in over all well-being (American Psychological Association, 1998)”(1). There are many sources that say the accustomed and continuous interest in the Internet and other sources of technology can be a negative influence on people.

Not only is the continuous obsession of technology affecting the well-being of a certain person, but it also had an affect on their family and friends. The more attached to their iPods, cell phones and computers people become the less time they spend having quality time with their friends and family. For instance, Bob Affonso also claims “Data showed that as people in this sample used the Internet more, they reported keeping up with fewer friends” and as if that still isn’t enough “They also reported spending less time talking with their families, experiencing more daily stress, and feeling of more lonely and depressed” (1). So this “mid controlling” thing I call technology is hurting ourselves and the others around us. Yet, we are still using it.

Wait, there’s more. Another effecting factor of the constant use of iPods and other types of technology is the way that the familiarity of just pulling out your iPod and not having a good old-fashioned conversation with someone around you. What I mean is, people are missing the chance to meet other new individuals. You know that boy that is always listening to his iPod and never stops to take a second and enjoy the world around him? Well, he is another example of how crazy and chaotic our lives can become when we are always listening to our iPods or just messing around. Whether or not we may realize it, sometimes it is better to just put away the computer, the iPod, the cell phone and just relax. Even Krystle Sang knows that “Interaction between individuals is slowly diminishing as people turn to their technological devices instead of attempting to make a new acquaintances or simply experience the “natural” sights and sounds around them. This aloofness to new music styles and experiences in general may have detrimental effects” (1).

Does this “addiction” affect life outside of the home? For example can you see an affect on sports events, culture events, or even religious groups? I believe so. Try putting yourself in a situation where you were to decide to turning to the world and society or the web. Would you rather go play a basketball game and get all sweaty or just sit at home playing a game on the internet? Would you rather attend a culture event or text random people? Think about if this decision has ever crossed your mind, would you rather wake up early in the morning to go to church, or lay in bed till noon stalking random people on facebook. Well, according to Norman H. Nie and Sunshine Hillygus, there is a big difference in what internet users and what non-internet users do. Within the data Nie and Hillygus created the ratio of sports events between internet users and non-internet users is 2.1 to 0.1. leading to 2.0 difference. The ratio for culture events is 1.8 to 0.7, resulting in a 1.1 difference. And most importantly there is a 0.7 difference between the internet users and the non-internet users. These values may not seem very severe, but in time these differences can become quite significant.

When I was looking throughout the sources, I came across the source that Jen Harrison wrote. She believes that “There are also those who claim that the iPod does more to unite people than it does to divide them” (2). I asked myself, how can a group of people become united by putting earphones into their ear and listening to music? The truth is that they really can’t because by doing so they are setting themselves apart from social interaction. Also, Harrison tries to defend that the iPod can unite people, but really the iPods do the exact opposite. Music is what united people, not the device that plays it. In the same source from Jen Harrsion, she makes a suggestion about “iPod parties” and that these events bring people together. What is an “iPod part”? Apparently it is a party where people can bring their iPods and plug them into a stereo of some type and hear them over a loud speaker. This is a great idea and sounds fun, but there’s just one problem. How rarely do you get invited to an iPod party? And once again Harrison claims that the iPods bring people together. This is totally incorrect. Music is the foundation for bringing people together.

More defenders of technology are Yamachi Yutaka and Jean-Francois Coget. Yutaka and Coget believe that “The internet can foster openness, self-confidence, and a greater sense of ease and comfort in dealing with others” (3). It is true that the internet can make a person more confident and not themselves, but this isn’t always a good thing. You see, everything is good until you take away that computer and the internet. That feeling of openness, ease, and comfort is all taken away, and you are left in world where social skills matter, but since you’ve spent the majority of your life staring at a computer screen, you have no clue what to do. You are then scared, outside of your comfort zone, uneasy, self-conscience and find yourself regretting all the time and attention you devoted to technology.
So now, when you look at it, meaning technology, the internet, your cell phone, you can see the negative effect it can have on you, and the world. It’s times like this when we always have to be doing something that we can really start to affect ourselves and the people around us. So what if you don’t update your facebook status every five minutes or text those people back immediately? Trust me. Forget about all of that. Enjoy time with your family and friends and focus on more important things. You just might realize all you’ve been missing out on.

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