This morning, while harmlessly flipping through the morning paper, I came across yet another article on smartphones. More specifically, how they are ruining our lives. It seems it has become a journalistic freebie to rag on smartphones, an assertion of choice being something along the lines of “in an ever connected world, we’ve never been farther apart”. Come on. It’s getting old now.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there’s no validity to that idea. Of course there is. Just as technology is a tool for innovation and learning, it also can be used for more nefarious purposes. Cyber bullying, especially amongst children, is a huge problem. The users of social media are only getting younger, which has obvious negative implications in that some kids just are not mature enough to be using said services. Harsh comments, bad photos, and regrettable messages once posted or sent are often irremovable. Back in the “good old days”, kids could make those kind of mistakes in person, via which the consequences would be much less serious – part of growing up. So yes, there are of course drawbacks to the rise of technology and the increasing role of smartphones in our lives.
Yet at the same time, this is the way society is headed. One person who leaves their phone at home, goes walking in nature for a couple hours and then writes about their “experience” changes nothing. In the nicest way possible without saying it sarcastically, good for you. I of course understand. Everyone needs a break from sitting at a computer and looking at a phone all day, I get that and am no exception. However, is it not a push to declare your breaks “life-changing?” With every negative thing about technology, there are countless more ways it positively affects our lives. You can learn almost anything on the internet, your phone can tell you how to get anywhere in the world, and you can talk to family a 20 hour flight away in an instant. As a generation that is living through the rise of technology and an increasing reliance on smartphones, we must embrace this change instead of focusing on the negatives. There are advances in computer science and tech happening everyday. All these innovations and advances are tools that can be used to educate, inform, and support – to make our lives better. For every mean message sent on social media, there can be a supportive one. The rise of technology does not have to mean that the next generation is on the brink of a “mental-health crisis”. Ultimately, it is up to us to determine how we move forward.
Society is headed in a direction where technology’s role in our lives is ever increasing. Next time you read an article bashing smartphones, I encourage you to think about all the positives as well. And remember, if you want to put your phone down for a couple hours, by all means go for it.
Just don’t write about it.