Is our reliance on technology getting out of hand?

| September 24, 2013 | 1 Comment

It was a cold, sunny day in January 2013. I had finally scavenged up the money to purchase the new iPhone 5, released only a few months earlier. I succumbed to the peer pressure to upgrade to a shiny new smartphone with new capabilities and features.

That one day in January was a cold and sunny day, but the subsequent days for me will never be as bright. I have become addicted to my cell phone, and my addiction will probably never stop.

The addiction slowly began to solidify throughout the summer, as I rotated through my social media apps until I snapped back to reality: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, then homework. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, then sleep.

Instead of going outside and jumping in the pool, I drowned myself in my iPhone, only coming up for air when I ran out of new stories to view on my numerous social feeds. And ever since school has begun, my motivation to pursue anything has subsided. I hate to view or read anything not pertaining to the Internet or technology.

For the past few months, my phone has created countless new ways to absorb information in an abbreviated fashion. Whether through tweets or through videos, I find what I need quickly and simply through the Internet. Once I was assigned to read an article longer than three pages for my fall classes, I could barely focus on it.

Fast forward to this week. With the release of iOS7, the new software update for Apple’s iPhone, I became a little more self-aware of how influential and ultimately detrimental my phone has been on my brain.

Throughout the week, iOS7 became the topic of all of my conversations. But then I came to realize it was all my peers were talking about as well. After that, I realized how often my classmates checked their phones during class. And I noticed how many cell phones were lit during a concert I attended. And I’m realizing now that I have checked my phone five times while writing this story.

I didn’t have any notifications, or anything to check specifically. I gravitated to my phone for no real reason because I felt like it was necessary.

Our generation is addicted to technology. There’s no denying it. But is it necessarily a bad thing?

Yes, and it seems to be a problem for many young adults.

Recent studies by South Korean experts have looked into the brains and mental capacities of young adults and they have noticed what has been deemed as a “worrying trend.”

In June 2013, an article in the The Mail Online profiled this study on what is being called “digital dementia,” saying the percentage of “people aged between 10 and 19 who use their smartphones for more than seven hours every day [has] leap[t] to 18.4 percent – an increase of seven percent from last year.”

Research conducted at UCLA in early June came to similar conclusions, finding “14 percent of young men and women between aged 18 and 39 complained that their memory was poor.”

This study, however, put the blame more on stress and lifestyle choices. But it is clear cell phones and other technologies seem to be the biggest factor for our short-term memory and short retention rates.

Knowing this information and being self-aware of my own problems with technology, my reliance on technology cannot be a good thing. And with the imminent arrival of the Google Glass (the new computer “eye-ware”  from the international Internet company) next year, personally I feel it will get so much worse.

Until then, my “digital dementia” has taken a toll on my academics, my social capabilities and even my life in general. I cannot imagine going cold turkey on technology because of how easily accessible electronics have become for me as a college student.

Speaking for young adults as a whole might be a big generalization; there may be plenty of ‘90s kids with a better grip on it all.

But there’s a fine line when it comes to our generation’s reliance on technology. We are technically knowledgeable, but what exactly does that mean for how smart we actually are? I know my way around a cell phone or a computer and their uses for my everyday life, but that doesn’t necessarily make me an intelligent person (at least in the conventional sense).

But that’s just it: we are an unconventional generation. We were born with technology in in our homes and in our hands, from our Gameboys to our iPhones.

Our addiction and infatuation with technology is becoming stronger every day. And every minute, our brains are breaking.

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Category:Opinion

Patrick Bogans Patrick is a former Community Editor and A&E editor for the Niner Times. He is pursuing a Communications major with minors in Film Studies and Journalism at UNC Charlotte. Contact him at pbogans@uncc.edu.

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  1. Tommy says:

    At least you admit that you’re addicted to your tech devices. There are other things I’m worried about as a side effect. Sitting in a restaurant today, an entire family addicted to their smartphones not only created very little conversation between them and much more annoying little sound effects from the crap they were playing…but they were hunched over! They put their phones on the table and were hunched over looking at them. This isn’t even the first time I’ve seen something like this. If people continue to do that, they’ll be hunchbacks! They’ll develop back problems! But the way this family interacted in a restaurant worries me about what kind of life are they living at home. Do they even know each other? Also, what is so interesting that has to be looked at right now? Family time should be family time and whatever recreational time you have to yourself can be spent on that. But people aren’t going to be together forever and instead of enjoying the precious time they have together, they’re wasting it on Facebook and Candy Crush. What is it going to take for people to realize that they’re actually foolishly wasting their time instead of spending it with loved ones that won’t always be around? My great grandmother died when I was 7 and how I wish I could’ve spent more time getting to know her but it couldn’t really be helped. The fact is you don’t regret it until it is too late and I feel all this stuff people are doing on their phones to block out all sorts of reality is really hurting them in the long run. It’s fine to have a little fun when you have some downtime but it’s very unhealthy to make it your life. Another thing, why does everyone say they can’t live without it? How can you possibly not function in life without it? What sort of vital functions does it serve? I don’t mean little convenience options but how does it really make your life easier to the point where you must plunk down all this money for one of these devices? People bellyache they never have any money yet they’re constantly laying down fistfuls of cash for a phone. I’m 25 and never owned a cell phone a day in my life and my life is so simple without one that I’ll never get one. Even if I did, it would be the most basic thing I could get. I don’t need the stress of owning one and paying for basically two bills I’m already paying enough for at home, being internet and landline respectively. One more thing, what is the great big flippin deal about iOS7? I don’t own one of these things but that’s all I heard from people too. It’s a stupid operating system! What’s so special about it? I guess I just have more in my life to care about than what something is running. To me as long as it works, I don’t care what it has.

    So in very short, to me it’s okay if you want a phone but I think people need to seriously consider limiting their usage a great deal. Don’t obsess over them and start living life again before it’s too late and you start regretting the time you’ve wasted. Kids especially, because you’ll never be a kid again. Once your youth is gone, its gone forever. Take time and be a kid if you’re in that age group.

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Patrick Bogans Patrick is a former Community Editor and A&E editor for the Niner Times. He is pursuing a Communications major with minors in Film Studies and Journalism at UNC Charlotte. Contact him at pbogans@uncc.edu.

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