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Back to the Real World

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I felt the sweat droplets on my face and opened the front door to another disappointing wisp of hot air. I was positive I had never been so hot in my life. Hurricane Ike had come over Houston and took all the electricity with it. My phone was dead along with my iPod, computer, and television. The air conditioning and lights were both out. I felt as if there was absolutely nothing to do. I stepped outside and was stunned to see people. Not just the few neighbors surrounding my house but people I had never even seen before! I had no idea there were so many kids on my street. Everywhere I looked people were smiling and cooking the foods that were about to go bad (the refrigerators were dead too). The kids were playing football and riding their bikes. The energy in the air outside was so welcoming and comforting, I forgot about the heat. A burst of excitement came over me and I ran to meet my best friend for her family’s barbeque. I almost wished that everyday life felt like that. Some think that people are better off without technology. Even though the streets are empty, people are entertained without interaction. Others believe that technology deprives people of so much in life and nature. This topic is important because technology has changed the way people interact with one another. It has caused people to “bring their own personal spheres into public space” (Song 1). I think while technology develops and modernizes society, when used excessively, it makes people socially awkward and deprives us of public interaction.
With too much technology usage, people tend to become unhappy and troubled. Technology has lead to “increases in misery and loneliness and a decline in overall psychological well-being” (Affonso 1). For instance, on Facebook, which is a popular web site that lets you communicate and connect with everyone, I have found myself comparing how many “friends” I have or the amount of comments I have received. I have also found that by doing that I feel less important or left out because I may have less that another person. I know that many of my friends have become addicted to checking their profile and adding as many friends as they can. People who have constantly used the computer are also “spending less time talking with their families, experiencing more daily stress, and feeling more lonely and depressed” (Affonso 1). Technology has advantages and it can be very useful but is this what we want people of the modern world to be like?
Some people may argue that technology gives opportunities to people who are “too depressed to conduct a social life” (Coget and Yutaka 1). They also suggest that the Internet can create self-confidence. However, this statement is illogical. It is a false cause. Just because a person is confident on the Internet does not mean that they will be in real life. I actually know a person that comments on every status and posts videos all over Facebook, but then in school, I have never herd them utter a word. And while it may be easier to express ourselves through writing rather than face-to face, it is not natural and is depriving us of the social interactions in everyday life.
Technology has given people a chance to escape from the difficult moments that occur daily in public, but I think it is through those moments that we grow in our social skills. When a person is glued to the computer all day, they have everything they need. They have people to talk to, all the information in the world, and entertainment, but they are living in a synthetic life. There is no real interaction. What will happen once they step outside into the real world? Over using technology has made them awkward and scared of face-to- face interaction. Nie and Hillygus show in a chart that people who spend more time on the Internet people were around their families, friends, and attending less social events then those who did not use the Internet (1).
One of the latest additions to technology is the iPod. It has created the perfect escape from the social interactions in everyday life. “Instead of sitting by your self on the bus with a bunch of strangers”, you pull out your iPod and listen to a song to lighten your mood (Song 1). This amount of technology is okay, maybe you have had a bad day and just want to relax with some music. But what about when you get so involved in your music that the earphones never come off? I have a friend that is so focused on music that she cannot talk about anything else. She has lost most all contact with her friends and has even stopped all sports and extracurricular activities in order to have more time to discover and indulge in music. For those days that you need music to lift your spirits, the iPod is wonderful but when it is used to escape the reality of social interaction, it turns into a bad thing. It should not be used as a substitution for friends or family. Song reports “Interaction between individuals is slowly diminishing as people turn to their technological devises instead of attempting to make a new acquaintance” Instead of plugging in, try meeting someone, people can be just as fun!
Some people contradict this and say that “iPods do more to unite people than it does to divide them” (Harris 1). Harris is referring to a group of people in London that have iPod parties, they get together and each person plays a selection of their own songs. This is the illogical fallacy, selective sampling. That group is probably one the few people that actually gets together due to iPods. I think that while an iPod party is a good idea, one cannot say that all iPods everywhere are bringing people together.
People are becoming incapable of regular social interaction and are escaping into a world of technology. Excessive use results in people retreating into their own worlds and not interacting with others. It is also causing people to be unhappy, lonely and distant from their families and friends. Excessive technology has changed human social interaction for the worse and we need to first realize that too much technology is not good. Then we need to begin to escape from over using technology or using it to replace our relationships in the real world.





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