We carry around computing devices in our pockets, ready to go whenever we have a question, need to look up a meaning or post a quick Facebook status. The internet, smart phones and social media have gained notoriety when it comes to making us “lazy” and “counter-productive.” But is social media and technology as damaging as we like to publicize, or are we simply romanticizing life during the era where technology was only at its grassroots?
It is beyond doubt that modern technology has made us more lackadaisical towards situations that once would require a lot more effort, but in a majority of scenarios, technology can save us a lot of time: time that we can be using more productively. We no longer have to flip through a dictionary to learn a new word or check if we’re using the correct spelling. With applications that have specific uses for research and reference, with a few swipes our job is done. It can be argued that flipping over an encyclopedia isn’t that tedious of a task, but when we have access to portable, pocket-sized encyclopedias that could never become outdated – the pros outweigh the cons.
Although technology has made our daily tasks require a shorter period of time for completion, it indeed has made us too dependent. The modern nightmare does include being stranded in a quiet waiting room with your phone battery at 1%. While we can avoid writing out a letter addressed to half-way around the world, we forget how to draft an actual letter. And in the terrible situation that your laptop is malfunctioning or you drop your phone in water, you begin contemplating how to proceed in your day having been stripped of a device that has made every task seem effortless. “How far is the closest post office?” With no Google to help, we might as well be lost.
But could getting lost once in a while be worth it? After all, technology simplifies so many tasks. Even during the earthquake last year on April 25th, global communication was made so much easier with free calls granted by programs like Viber, even without an internet connection. With Facebook you can now connect with a long-lost school best friend and a relative living in a country abroad. If one small message or a “Like” can reassure one of the fact that their friends and family are well, then with video chatting and FaceTime-ing, it must be like experiencing a conversation first-hand. The internet and our gadgets allow us to effortlessly communicate with anybody, be it via text message, phone call, or tweet.
Perhaps one of the most stated arguments is that technology and social media is ruining life for the next generation. They don’t experience running around, playing, getting dirty and falling down once in a while. While this may be true and exercise is a requirement for healthy physical development, technology is aiding the next generation to grow differently. Children recognize their favorite applications by the images that they project, live news updates online and allow teenagers to become more aware of their current affairs without having to wait for the daily news, the next day. Access to social media and the internet has made young adults much more aware of the happenings around the world and has allowed about them to learn much faster than previous generations.
Granted, although technology is a time-saving invention, it does bring about some problems like total-dependence on some undependable battery life, and may also give rise to issues like cyber bullying and other cyber crimes. But, with the proper legislature to tackle the problems, we should be good to go. If technology grants us such freedom to learn, to work, and to communicate, without disruption, it should be a force we must embrace.