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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Life + Arts

Technology has taken over the world

The use of technology in everyday life has changed the dynamic of social settings. Many of us rely on multiple technological devices to stay connected to others. | Photos.com

My cellphone is deceased. I dropped it in my bathroom sink after a night of heavy drinking and a failed attempt at drunk-texting. It hovered between life and death for several weeks before finally tiring of the monotony of continually dying and then coming back to life again. It passed away while I was asleep Wednesday night, thus robbing me of my alarm and causing me to miss my Thursday morning class. I also never got a chance to say goodbye — perhaps my professor will understand.

After arriving on campus Thursday afternoon, I decided to head over to Starbucks in an attempt to caffeinate away my sorrow, which had increased exponentially during the 45 minutes it took me to find a parking spot. I ordered my drink, and then — out of habit — I reached for my cellphone. I tend to kill time while standing in line by sending phantom text messages (I know I am not the only person who does this.) You can only imagine my horror when I found my pocket empty, so I pretended to be extremely interested in the message on the back of a box of Tazo Tea for the rest of my wait.

So, what shall I do with my life post-cellphone? Should I drop everything and rush to the nearest AT&T store to buy a new one, or should I instead spend a couple of weeks tether-free?

I use the word tether because that is truly what cellphones are. Cell phones, iPods, iPads and laptops are all tethers.

Believe it or not, there was once a time when people were not tethered to technological devices. They could get from point A to point B without using GPS (yes, they actually used paper maps — how hipster of them.) They read books on the bus instead of checking Facebook on their iPhones, and they had actual conversations with people as they stood in line waiting for their lattes.

We live in a world of technology addicts. If you don’t believe me, take a few moments to look around you. You don’t have to be obvious about this — maybe you can just peak over your paper a little or pretend to spot a friend across the room. Notice how many people are talking on their cellphones, sending text messages, listening to music on their iPods or struggling to type on their iPads.

My guess is that there are several people around you doing those things. Now, take a few moments to reflect on your own addiction to technology.

After you are finished reflecting, look around you again. Imagine that all satellite communication has stopped due to a highly improbable disaster (I won’t bog you down with the details). And, because of some weird sort of technological solidarity, every battery has died as well. My guess is that you would see a couple of minutes of dumb disbelief followed by utter chaos; people crying, frantic searches for friends and loved ones, hugs — lots of hugging — the death of modern civilization would ensue.

The point is, we are all hopelessly addicted to technological devices. It is eating away at our free time, our independence, our relationships and our souls.

Here is my proposition: Try to cut back on the amount of time you spend on your phone, iPod, iPad or laptop next week. I’m not saying you should quit using them completely — that could be the death of a student — just cut back a little. See how you feel after a week. My guess is that you will feel more connected to those around you once you un-tether yourself.

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