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.