It was a Friday like any other Friday. I woke up and went to log on my computer and browse the Internet. Alas, the Internet was down. No big deal, right? Well, I reset my router, and after a few hours it still wasn’t back on. At that point I became very upset and resolved to call my ISP (Internet Service Provider) and complain until the problem was fixed. Well, luckily for my ISP, the Internet came back on again a few minutes before I was going to call. However, when I was later reflecting upon the incident, I thought to myself, “do we sometimes depend on technology too much?”
I know that computers are fun, and the internet is a useful tool, but at some point, when does it become a little saddening that I, along with many other people I know, start to get very annoyed if e-mail can’t be checked at least once a day? I think that in this technological age, more people need to realize that things like books and fresh air are tremendously important. If you can’t handle a day without your PDA or checking your e-mail, then you might want to rethink your technological dependency.
This technological dependency sometimes can even hurt relationships. I find that I’m more likely to get an e-mail from friends or family members than a nice phone call or an invite to lunch. It seems that while technology certainly has the ability to bring people together, it can also make things more impersonal. I’ve also found that this can even extend to the business world. Where people used to always call meetings, or have business lunches, sometimes a quick e-mail is all you’ll receive from a superior.
It also extends to many other areas as well. Can you even walk across a college campus without seeing a student with an iPod or other mp3 player on? Talk to any college student and they’ll tell you how the walk to class can be unbearable without music on. What’s worse is that some students even keep the headphones on during lecture. So once again, you have to wonder, when does technology become too much a part of our lives? When I hear students say they “can’t live without” their iPod, I wonder if really we’re putting too much stock in technology.
Now this post isn’t meant to be all grim, because technology really can be fantastic at times. In truth, it’s just my opinion that sometimes we take technology too seriously, and depend on it too much. If your computer breaks, don’t get worked up about it. If the Internet goes down, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes, we all just need to take the time to step outside our electronic worlds and “smell the roses” (as the saying goes). If you’re a student, try walking to class without that iPod on, and listen to the sounds of spring, or whatever season it may be. If you’re a manager or employer, take the time to actually talk to your employees rather than dropping them short impersonal e-mails. Remember, technology is great, and can add to life and make things easier. However, tech isn’t the end-all, be-all. There’s nothing wrong with some good, old-fashioned people skills.
Heather Johnson is a freelance writer, as well as a regular contributor for OEDb, a site for learning about online education. Heather invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .