Is Technology Our Friend or Foe?
The Beauty on our Right
I am sitting here, looking out my front window – on the right is my neighbor’s lovely, perfectly manicured front lawn adorned with perfectly placed flowers in the flower bed. On the left, a busy street, full of the hustle and bustle we are all becoming accustomed to. I ask myself – why are we as a society choosing to live the life on the left, instead of stopping to smell the flowers on the right?
Every day, I am amongst all of these busy people. We all seem to have somewhere to be – five minutes ago. We have so many things in our lives that are supposed to help us keep our lives more organized, but our lives seem to be in more disarray than ever before. I personally think everything just went wrong when we were first introduced with all this amazing technology that we use today. Hang on a second, I just received a text.
Sorry about that, now where was I, oh yes, the technology that is taking over our lives. I remember, twenty two years ago; meeting a friend at the mall to catch a movie. Earlier in the day, I had picked up a newspaper and went directly to the entertainment section. A friend and I decided it was a perfect day to go see a movie. It was raining, gloomy and there just didn’t seem to be anything we could do without getting wet. The movie we decided upon – Ernest goes to Jail! I have to remind you, at this time I was just a teenager, so this movie was something we both really wanted to see.
Planning, The Old Fashioned Way - Part One
Now, here is the crazy part – the planning. After getting home from walking to the neighborhood store and opening up the entertainment section of the paper, I had to look at the local movie theatres times that the movie will be playing. It was a Saturday, so an evening time was fine, as it was not a school night. I went upstairs to ask my parents if it were okay if my friend and I could go to the movie. My Mother then asked me when it should be over. I then told her that it would be over at about 9:00pm. My Mother then offered to pick us up when it was over and asked if my friend would be staying the night. I hadn’t thought about that yet. I asked my Mother to wait a couple of minutes for the answer as I had to phone my friend to find out if she wanted to spend the night too.
Planning, The Old Fashioned Way - Part Two
So, I walked down the hallway, went to the kitchen and phoned my friend. (The reason I had to go to the kitchen to use the phone – it was still attached to the wall. My parents had not yet bought a cordless phone.) My friend’s mother answered the phone and I asked her if I could speak to my friend. Her mother asked me to hold for a minute as she went and got my friend. About a minute later my friend was on the phone and I asked her if she also wanted to spend the night. My friend then asked me to hold for a minute as she went and asked her mother if she could spend the night at my house. About another minute later, she came back on the line and said that she could spend the night. I then told my friend to meet me at the local park at 4:00pm so we can then catch the bus together. She agreed and we said goodbye.
Planning, The Old Fashioned Way - Part Three
I then walked back down the hallway to tell my Mother that my friend would be spending the night. I also told my Mother that I would be meeting my friend at 4:00pm at the park so we can catch the bus together. My Mother said ok and I went back downstairs to my bedroom to kill time until I was to meet my friend. Now, this whole planning process took me about an hour and a half! This of course, including the time it took me to walk to the store for a newspaper. I then picked up a book I was reading and read it for about another 2 hours until I had to leave.
Planning, The Technologically Advanced Way
The whole point to the above – we now have the internet, cell phones and texting to assist us. The whole process nowadays would have taken me maybe 5 minutes in total. That is including the time it took me to look up the movie theatre and times on the internet. I would have then texted my mother upstairs and then texted my friend to find out if she could spend the night and to make sure she was meeting me at the park at 4:00pm!
The only problem is - I wouldn’t have picked up a book to read. I would have stayed on the internet, looking at videos on YouTube and catching up with some of my friends on Facebook and lost track of time. In the end, I would have been a half an hour late meeting my friend at the park!
The Complicated Life
Has technology really made our lives easier or more complicated? When looking at the above scenario, did it work for me? Nope!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the technology that is available to us today. Yes it is easier to get a hold of someone when you need to ask them something. But just think about how we would handle it twenty years ago. If my friend was lucky enough to have an answering machine, I would have left her a message with the hopes that she would get to back to me before we would have to leave for the movie. But, there was also the slight chance that she would not get the message in time. Would that have ruined our day? No. We would have just rented a movie instead and watched it at my place on my 20 inch television. That’s right, 20 WHOLE inches!! We then would have grabbed a couple of my teen magazines and talked about how much we were in love with one of the latest heart throbs. But now, we would check out his twitter feed and wait for him to post something!
Finding Peace Within
To be Human Again
There is a piece of me that wishes it were still the same way it was in the 80’s and 90’s. We all just seemed more personable then. We all seemed to have more personality, laughter and smiles. We all had time to read a book and actually spend time talking to our friends about it. To have a nice family supper without having to worry about the bings and bells sounding when we get a text message. To have your children want to go on a family outing, instead of deciding to catch up on Facebook. Going for a walk with your loved one - not being interrupted by a phone call from a friend. These are things that I miss. But it is happening all around us.
People are now working longer hours at work and having less time at home. I just feel that sometimes technology is taking away a lot of our precious hours that we once had for ourselves - hours to spend time with family and friends. To read a book and it to be made of paper. To wake up Sunday morning and read the newspaper while drinking a cup of coffee, not running to the computer to check our email.
In the end, I think I just miss real human contact!!