If you are reading my blog post, I’m assuming you have some sort of way to access social media. Almost all of us now have not only one, but many devices that allow us to be updated with the latest news from our friends, family, and even about our favorite celebrities. In Erin Anderssen’s article, Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction and Shea Laverty’s article, The Pros and Cons of Smartphones, they both address the problems we are having, whether we are too dependent on technology or not.
Useful tool or just a distraction?
These handheld devices we have now are very useful tools in our lives. But are these devices really helping us or just distracting us? Let’s see… In Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction, Erin was talking to her son about how he wasn’t paying attention to the movie they were watching, instead her son was on his iPad playing games. In the article, Erin said
“When I suggested he was missing the witty repartee between Watson and Holmes, he shrugged and said: ‘Mom, I’m paying attention. This is how everyone watches TV now.”
Part of this is true! I think I’ve checked my phone at least 5 times while writing this article but here I am still writing, so I can agree with what Erin’s son was saying to a certain extent.
But was he really paying attention while he was busy playing with his iPad?
Was he really catching all the details that were going on in the movie they were watching?
Was he catching their facial expressions or their body language?
Probably not. These little elements complete and enhance the film, but Erin’s poor little son and most of us end up missing these small details.
Why do we use it?
So why are we so caught up in these devices like my iPhone? I’m one of many people who can’t stay away from their phones so I know how it is. IT FEELS LIKE THE WORLD IS GOING TO END WHENEVER I LEAVE MY HOUSE WITHOUT MY LOVELY IPHONE.
I’m sure some of you guys agree.. Whenever this happens I always feel like I’m missing out on something important that I shouldn’t be, but in reality I come back home with no notifications on my phone which kind of upsets me.
As much as it is useful and easy to use, it is getting harder and harder to stay away from these devices. I think Apple and many other companies have done a great job making their products as a “need” rather than a “want.”
Many aspects of Apple devices, like their app store and iMessage make it easier for consumers to use it. iMessages allows Apple users to contact any other Apple device without paying, as long as the device is connected to wifi. So even without my iPhone, I can still text people back with my MacBook, which is also an apple product. Companies like Apple are making it harder for us to stay away from these devices.
Pros and Cons
So is this good or bad?
Obviously there are many pros but there are also many cons that come along with these devices we are using. In Shea Laverty’s article, The Pros and Cons of Smartphones, she addresses good and bad parts of these devices we are exposed to. Some of the pros of handheld devices are; it can be a communication tool, productivity Tool, and it can also allow people to innovate.
These devices provide a great way for us to communicate with friends, navigate us wherever we go, keep track of our schedules, and even increase in productivity by getting the certain information we need as soon as possible.
But on the other hand there are some cons that come along with these pros. It can be intrusive to our privacy, instant obsolescence, and many times these devices can be huge distractions to people. They’re distractions for students and professionals. It will be interesting to see how these distractions will affect the incoming young professionals who grew up with these products, and are more accustomed to using these devices continuously throughout the day.
Did it change us?
When I was about ten years old, I knew all my best friends’ house phone number by heart. I called them everyday to make plans after school. We would always meet up at school in our free time and fly kites and played soccer all day together till our legs hurt at night.
Then three years later, when I was about thirteen years old, cell phones came around I didn’t need to remember their numbers anymore since I could just simply save them in my contacts. I no longer needed to call them to make plans since texting was way easier and faster. Later, when I was in middle school I saw a touchscreen phone for the first time and thought it was cool looking and fancy but I had no idea what this was going to do to our society.
My nephew, who just turned eleven years old, has an iPhone and a Samsung tablet just like me. He has an Instagram and Facebook accounts that he uses everyday! I was playing soccer and flying kites when I was about his age but my nephew stays home and like his classmates pictures on Instagram. He even uses hashtags for his picture captions too!
Although he has these devices that he loves to play with, my sister-in-law has a rule for him. My poor little nephew is only allowed to play his favorite game, Minecraft, an hour a day. He still likes playing outside of course, whenever I ask him to play soccer with me outside he says yes most of the time. But if he had a chance to choose between Minecraft and soccer he always chooses Minecraft.
These devices are not only changing the youth of the world. It they’re affecting everyone who has access to these devices. In exchange for all the good things that come with this technology, we are losing somethings that are just as important if not more.