Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I think of the "technology is ruining your ability to be social" lecture...

Ok I know I could get a lot of flak for this but I must admit something. I am SO sick of getting lectured by the older generations about how new technology is ruining our ability to have healthy social relationships!
It is the same lecture every time. I don't know if I could count how many times I have heard it. It usually starts with an older person talking about how they were walking down the hallway at a university and how they saw that everyone was either talking on their cellphone, texting or listening to their iPod. They then proceed to talk about how things didn't used to be that way and how people used to be able to look each other in the eye. Usually the speaker is being over dramatic and mentions their fear that we will loose all ability to associate with one another. If society does fall apart, it will be the younger generation's fault.
Each time I hear this lecture, I usually listen out of politeness. But what I really want to do is lecture them on a thing or two.
First of all, this older generation created the America we live in today. We have inherited this system of capitalism and consumerism where we are always after bigger, better, and faster. They were the generation that invented the computer, cellphone and portable music devices. We got Nintendos, walkman and cell phones for Christmas. You spent all this time and energy make these things, can you blame us for using them?
Many of these items of technology were invented to "save us time" when in all reality it has just heightened expectations as to how we use our time. We are arguably busier and busier and we are expected to be able to get it all done. So please forgive me for using technology that will "save me time".
Now that we are more pressed for time, we have less "me" time. When I say less "me" time, I mean time in which I get to do what I want to do. This entails maintaining friendships, listening to music I like and just relaxing. In response we have become very good at multi-tasking and filling up all of those little moments of our day that can be used other wise. We talk to our friends on the phone in the hallway. Heaven forbid I call one of my sisters that lives far away. I wouldn't want to be on my cell phone, it inhibits my ability to develop social skills. If trying to maintain and strengthen my already existing relationships doesn't do that, what does?
Some of you are probably saying "Rachel, technology has had some negative affects on our generation". I would agree, technology has ruined some lives but lets be honest, those who decide use any form of technology in an extreme is a little off anyway. The teenager that would rather text than call someone or actually talk to another person face to face is a innately awkward. If they weren't gaming online all day and night, then they would be off playing Dungeons and Dragons or reading some weird book. I am sad for these people, but I don't think we should let technology be the scapegoat for their lack of desire to deal with people.
I guess the point I would really want to make would be that we are just trying to cope with all of the expectations that are piled high and deep on our plate. So I would appreciate you getting off my back and giving me some credit. I am an average Joe. I use facebook, I have a blog, I text my friends to ask a quick question or let them know I was thinking about them, I listen to my iPod (for both music and podcasts). I know that this is hard to accept, but technology is here to stay. But don't worry, we are humans and we are intelligent enough to adapt to our new world. Life and society will continue to function. It will just be different.