Technology is often accused of ruining our lives by tearing apart relationships and causing the decline of social interaction. People flash dirty looks when they see students’ eyes on phones in classrooms, conferences, and generally anywhere in public. With cell phones in our pockets, portable laptops, and even tablets, it seems that the world has become overrun with technology — but is it really all that bad?
The rise in technology has allowed us to stay connected, share, and collect information faster than anyone thought possible. Have a question? Get it answered in less than 10 seconds by typing it into a search engine. Need to spread news fast? There are hundreds of platforms for doing this that can get you connected to just a small group of family or millions of people worldwide. We’ve used our technology to consolidate all of the information available to humans. We don’t need maps, almanacs, or encyclopedias anymore: it’s all at the touch of a button in your hand.
Technology has also brought about the rise of social media — an invaluable marketing tool for start-ups, small businesses, and even large corporations. The ability to interact directly with customers has led to better product testing and development that benefits both businesses and consumers, and has improved our economy greatly.
Finally, the newfound connectivity lets parents keep in contact with their teenagers while they’re out and about, and allows long-distance relationships and friendships to thrive. Families can stay in-the-know despite distance or deployment. You never have to miss an important moment in your child’s life, because the video can be sent right to you in less than a minute. It’s fast, efficient, and effective, and it’s become a staple in modern society. So why do we shame the use of technology so much?
Past arguments have been that technology diminishes face-to-face contact, but as apps like Skype and FaceTime become more popular, this defense fails to hold water. Talking on the phone has even become a skill that is actively practiced, and has been shown to improve language skills in students learning a second language and to help more introverted individuals become more open to discussion.
Furthermore, texting has actually increased literacy rates among children, as they don’t want to be left behind from their friends who can read and write texts to each other. Education in general has improved, as students can learn anything they want to know from a single device that fits in their pocket.
There are so many benefits to the easy access of technology that it is difficult to justify shaming those who seem to be “addicted” to it. If they are constantly on social media, maybe they’re working to promote a business. If they text a lot, perhaps they’re just trying to stay connected to loved ones who are far away.
So let kids (and adults) spend time on their phones without feeling shame for it. Let students take notes on their laptops and save paper. There’s no shame in staying connected to the world around us. It’s time we embrace the opportunities we now have, because, before long, something new will come around, and we’ll be wishing kids were on their devices “like the good ol’ days.”
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