The 21st Century Addiction to Technology

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Picture your younger self. Calling your friend up on the phone and asking them to come over and play. Asking your siblings to come onto the trampoline to jump. Going out to walk the dog and breathe some fresh air. Climbing the trees at the beach and starting new adventures. Baking cookies that fill the house with sweet smells. Reading for hours on end. Doing all of this without taking a phone out for one second to capture a photo, like a photo, tweet about it or film it. But – breathing in those moment with your loved ones. Making memories in your mind and living those moments. That is how I remember the days where technology did not rule our lives. How different it all was, how very different that it makes me notice even more so just how different it all is now.

Watching people sitting on the train or waiting in the cue to listen to music, watch endless videos, scroll on the pages of social media and staring into others lives was the main reason why I deleted my Facebook with over 400 friends. It didn’t mean anything. It didn’t warm my heart or give me satisfaction. What really did, was getting a photo from my family overseas or a hand written letter from a dear friend. Yet, as I walk the streets now, as I sit in the cafe or on the train – the screens are everywhere.

There are some distinct memories and moments that I really want to address. It has become such a common habit that many of these are seen as ‘normal’. As with everything, using technology should have a balance. Technology can be the most wonderful tool of connection. However, an unbalanced use of it can make it the very opposite of that with less social interaction. Here are some thoughts I’d like to share:

Being in touch with yourself. You are the one who will live side by side yourself for the rest of your life. That’s really something right? Yet, we are so in touch with our phones, so addicted to other’s lives, instant entertainment, instant satisfaction and instant gratification that unrelentingly so cause people to lose their self within it. There is no such thing as a perfect life online or offline.

The distortion of truth which sounds quite dramatic. However, I truly believe technology plays a significant influence in how many people view love. It’s sad, as many times when I have gone out to a cafe, whether I am in Asia or Australia, there is a couple that take pictures together, then both use their phones for the rest of the afternoon. They’re side by side, yet so far.Technology is so convenient, that many people are talking to other people, seeing different lives and viewing edited lives that can distort perceptions on the truth.

Smart phones on the street and train. Let’s face it, if I get a text or see an interesting article, I’m going to reply or read it. However, there is a difference between checking your phone for a good 10 minutes, and a constant gluing on the screen, with the head down and neck slouched that I see all too often. I was sitting in the MRT once in Taiwan and the whole row of people were using their phones. Yet, I was the only person looking outside at the beautiful mountains. It felt as if I couldn’t share that special moment with anyone.

People that use phones constantly when you go out together. This is a good example of what seems like such a ‘normal’ habit, to the extent that people don’t think it’s rude. But, I have to tell you bluntly – to anyone who uses their phones constantly to do something ‘more important’ when they are talking to someone – it is rude. Even if it’s to edit a photo, reply a long message or check a Facebook wall. Most of the time, these do not need to be instantly done. Yet, the word instant is part of the 21st century.

Feeling the rarity of holding a book. I love reading. Which is why I simply love that the internet has millions of articles and books to read. However, I still much prefer the physical element of books. I remember carrying  a pile of books home and getting the oddest looks. Yet, it came from people who were holding their phones. It is an irony. It is also a proof that our society is controlled by technology.

Remember to not lose your passions. Whether that is reading, listening to old records on tape, going for a hike, spending time with friends, travelling overseas, playing music or anything you love to do. Remember we don’t need to use technology every moment of our lives. Personally, I try my best to not use technology when I am with someone. I believe it is important to not lose yourself and define yourself by technology. It breaks my heart to see little kids already using phones, so that parents can make them stay quiet. If that is the way to make a kid stop being naughty, then I don’t know what it will be like in 10 years time for young kids growing up. Remember to take a break everyday from technology to stay in touch with the earth and yourself. As I am sure most of us, would rather spend most of the rest of our lives talking and spending time with people, rather than looking at a screen.

15 thoughts on “The 21st Century Addiction to Technology

  1. I have been thinking this a lot too lately. I went on facebook about a week ago and was so bored by it. Just meme after meme after uneducated misunderstood rants. People are so quick to believe anything without looking for the credible information. The art of researching seems to be getting lost but how can that be when access to knowledge is literally in our pockets or purses at most times. I buy books too, i like to read them in my bubble bath, i don’t want the kindle or whatever in there with me. I also buy my favourite magazines usually three at a time for the good deal and I’ve seen people give me odd looks for that too. I just love the smell of the perfumed pages in magazine and the colourful illustrations. Staring at a lit up screen all day is too harsh on the eyes. Don’t get me wrong I love technology and do spend an allotted amount of time on it. Some kids we hired are shocked when we tell them they can’t have their cell phones during shift, they sneak out of a four hour shift to check them. Really you can’t go four hours? When I’m out with friends I make a point of not being on my phone, the same courtesy is not always returned. I too am feeling socially disconnected.

    1. Hi Genevieve,

      Thank you so much for leaving your thoughts on this post! It’s very true, that many people look at things at a glance eg. memes for instant laughs or entertainment. We are becoming an extremely visual society. I really agree that the art of researching is becoming less as more people look at popular sites where the news is distorting parts of the truth or many things are based on popular opinion. Not to mention, being able to use books as a matter of research too! Haha :) it’s funny how many young people cannot live without technology for just a few hours now, let alone a day. In my past hospitality jobs, I never use technology during break time and would sometimes read a book or the newspaper. But, many people use it to scroll down their social media pages.

      However, it’s always a breath of relief to meet someone who doesn’t use technology too much!!

      Katie

      1. I’m really annoyed when I call someone just to talk because I love actually talking on the phone, you know using a phone for what it’s meant to be used for, and they text back “what’s up?” or worse answer when they are driving to tell me they are driving and can’t talk! I was out with a friend the other day and she kept looking at her phone every 10 minutes or so, finally I had to ask did it change yet are you that bored with my company? I sat in the lunchroom at work with 5 other people all engaged in their devices, I finally spoke up and said maybe I should get my device too so I can join the conversation. They thought I was being rude, maybe I was I just wanted to break the silence, I thought it was funny but they didn’t get it. Maybe if I posted it as a meme I’d get better results am I right?!

      2. Ah how times have changed :) Many people use phones now as a way of not having to speak or socialise in person. Keep the ones close to you who will treasure your company! X

  2. Exactly what I’ve been thinking. My challenge for this year is to stop relying on that instant-ness so much – not checking my phone as soon as it vibrates, or scrolling through facebook when I’m waiting for a friend. It’s so important to have true clarity, without technology, and learn to entertain without it.

    1. Hello Hannah :) That is definitely a wonderful challenge to set. It’s been very refreshing to just spend time in ones own thoughts to look at life beyond a screen. It’s so good to get back in touch with favourite hobbies that don’t involve technology. X

  3. Very true. We tend to get so caught up with our phones/social media that more often that not, we miss out on crucial moments. And, yes I still prefer to read a book where I can turn the page and not just swipe away.

    1. Hi Stephie, that couldn’t be truer! There are so many precious moments to savour that often taking out the phone or getting distracted on social media spoils the moment in a way. I’m so glad you can relate!

  4. This is a topic I wish more people were interested in. It seems more and more often I’ll invite people over and when they get here they’re completely absorbed in their phone! I miss the days when you could actually talk to people face-to-face. Great post :)

    1. Thank you! I hope you could relate to it in someway. It’s definitely changed a lot in just the last 10 years. I suppose it does make one really appreciate meeting and noticing people who don’t use technology too much. Hopefully next time people come over you will have a good face to face chat! ;)

  5. You are so right.
    It is rude to check your phone all the time, when you are in good company. People need to get more conscious about what technology is doing to them. It is so easy to get absorbed, that you tend to forget your surroundings and yourself. . .
    I never owned a smartphone and since last summer I have only had a landline, can you imagine ? -And I only got back on fb after 4 years, to stay connected to friends and family, because I moved to another country.
    Nice post ;o) Keep them coming.

    1. Hi John, ah yes! Which reminds me of a class I took on mindful thinking. Funny how it’s easy to do things on technology mindlessly without having to do any thinking. I suppose that’s why it’s an easy escape into another world. I’m very impressed! Although one tends to notice when people make more effort (eg. mail, email, phone) instead of texting. Thank you for the encouragement!

  6. As involved as I am with social media and the Internet, I have never read a book for pleasure on the Internet. I really don’t understand audio books! Where’s the visual stimuli in that???!!!

    1. Haha :) It’s true reading a book on the internet does tire the eyes after a while. Sometimes I think back to the days when we didn’t have smart phones. The ways technology is changing our past habits is huge!

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