Have We Become Too Dependent on Personal Technology?

One cannot deny that the computer is one of the greatest man-made inventions, or that it has altered the course of human existence on the planet Earth. So, while the first computer set us on a path that would ultimately change all facets of our lives, it has undeniably become a necessity in major areas rather than just being a luxury item for the rich. That being said, what would happen if our computers suddenly failed us? Would we be able to survive a cyber attack that resulted in a catastrophic meltdown?

This question was first poised on December 31, 1999, when the entire world held its breath as we contemplated the coming new millennium. Would the world’s computers be able to handle the date change, or would they all crash at once? This was even more frightening to the masses since technology experts were divided on the consequences of a major meltdown, while erroneous information spread like a wildfire. Fortunately, this concern was unfounded as we all awoke to the new millennium with our computers working properly and our Internet alive and well.

Since the turn of the century, this fear has changed its direction to hackers stealing our identities, but still focuses on what would happen if a computer terrorist shut down our power grid, or interfered with our military’s capabilities to communicate among itself in a war zone. Add to that the danger of our president not being able to respond if a hacker were to invade the White House’s ultimate safeguards and ordered the detonation of a nuclear weapon. These concerns are real, as during the past decade computers (including smartphones, tablets, iPods, etc.), have invaded our schools, in many ways dehumanizing and changing forever the way humans communicate among themselves.

I do realize that in many ways this training is critical to our survival as a nation, since without this knowledge our children cannot compete in a world that is technologically focused to such a point that even most fast food restaurants use computers to take and track customers’ orders. Believe me when I say I am not being facetious or attempting to be derogatory to fast food restaurants since I myself began my working career at a McDonald’s. It is just that these fast food computer type registers further dumb down the user experience by using pictures to limit mistakes, rather than requiring the order takers to remember prices and/or specific order requirements. This, in itself, is not only an insult to the intelligence of the person behind the register, but further adds to their dependence on computers. It doesn’t require much brainpower for the order taker to push a button on the screen, and they aren’t even required to figure out how much change is needed when handed a $20 bill.

However, what I find indicative and somewhat disturbing is our preoccupation with social networking sites that require us to be attached via a computer to the Internet. While this interaction between users can be exciting for those who are housebound or for those who wish to re-establish contact with distant family, it is sad to note that these sites have too often become the channel through which some choose to bully others, resulting once again in the dehumanization of other human beings. It is common on some of the forums with which I have associated myself to see highly critical remarks made towards those who have asked simple questions. Do you think this doesn’t happen? Why do Web sites have volunteer moderators scouring the forums looking for trolls whose only purpose is to be annoying and to intimidate the unknowing? I don’t understand why this occurs or why people who live in the same household find it necessary to communicate through such a network. I know for myself that when I first joined a social networking site, I, too, became obsessed with re-establishing contact with family, friends, and acquaintances that I had not had contact with for years. However, after the initial euphoria wore off, I came to the realization that keeping in contact had a cost that included time I could be spending talking to my wife and children rather than being subjected to information that was unimportant to me personally. I don’t know about you, but what someone had for lunch or a repetition or regurgitation of what others have repeatedly posted doesn’t do that much to make my day any better.

Have We Become Too Dependent on Personal Technology?For my family, at least, the Internet has several important uses such as paying bills or seeking out the best buys for a product, but what has become apparent to me as I surf the Internet is the obsession that some people have developed through the use of their computers. As I mentioned earlier in this article, using the computer to converse with others has become the primary means by which some individuals communicate, be it through texting on their phones, email, or their social networking sites. What happens, however, when the person on the other end cannot hear the intonation in your voice and an innocuous statement is misinterpreted and becomes a venue for an all out war? It seems to me that it is hard enough to interact with those around you when they can see you laughing or crying as you say something but without that it is so easy to have something misunderstood. Unfortunately, I know some people who cannot even sit down to dinner with you without texting throughout the meal, which means that they completely ignore those around them.

Our obsession with computers and the various technologies — such as cellphones — have consumed our lives. But some of us have made a decision to limit our exposure or even set our computers and cellphones aside at certain times. This is exactly what happened this past Christmas holiday in which, without saying a word to one another, all who visited our home turned off their cellphones and we actually talked and played old-fashioned boards games.

What about you? Do you take the time to put technology aside and to spend time with your loved ones?

Comments welcome.

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • http://redemptionofthenerd.wordpress.com/ zelf

    Being a part of the younger generation I have grown up with this kind of instant technology readily available nearly all my life. As the time has gone by, I have found myself enjoying the Internet and all it has to offer more and more. Sometimes though, my parents do need to pull me away from the computer to be ‘sociable in the real world’. I respect that and strongly believe that a balance between technology and no-technology is key. 

    I would say that I have become dependent on technology, in particular the Internet. If I want to be entertained or informed I will always turn to Google or YouTube. I rarely go to the library or the video store now and I would definitely say for three reasons (and these reasons are what I believe make the Internet in particular so strong and why we are so dependent on it). 

    1. The Internet is pretty much free, after you pay your connection costs you have a whole world of information out there. Its not like a video store where you have to pay $5 for a movie – you can just watch a whole bunch of really interesting, diverse clips on YouTube. 2. The Internet is instant. Books can go out of date as soon as they get published whereas things on the Internet and parts of software are being constantly updated and the time it takes from the original idea to form into a published, viewable piece is considerably shorter. If I wanted to make this comment in a book, it would have to go through editing processes, printing processes and more until it finally made it to the shelf. Whereas, here I am, right here, right now, commenting. 

    3. The Internet is sociable. The Internet is designed for the sharing and communicating of ideas and information. I believe that you can learn so much more from other people’s points of views and experiences than you can from reading a book or watching a movie on the subject. When you’re on the Internet you can join the discussion! (Like I’m doing now). 

    So, to conclude all of that. I would say that I have become dependent on technology because it is instant and up to date, not too expensive and a communication haven. I think if all the technology were to disappear, life would come to a stand still for awhile because we simply would not be able to cope. 

  • http://redemptionofthenerd.wordpress.com/ zelf

    Being a part of the younger generation I have grown up with this kind of instant technology readily available nearly all my life. As the time has gone by, I have found myself enjoying the Internet and all it has to offer more and more. Sometimes though, my parents do need to pull me away from the computer to be ‘sociable in the real world’. I respect that and strongly believe that a balance between technology and no-technology is key. 

    I would say that I have become dependent on technology, in particular the Internet. If I want to be entertained or informed I will always turn to Google or YouTube. I rarely go to the library or the video store now and I would definitely say for three reasons (and these reasons are what I believe make the Internet in particular so strong and why we are so dependent on it). 

    1. The Internet is pretty much free, after you pay your connection costs you have a whole world of information out there. Its not like a video store where you have to pay $5 for a movie – you can just watch a whole bunch of really interesting, diverse clips on YouTube. 2. The Internet is instant. Books can go out of date as soon as they get published whereas things on the Internet and parts of software are being constantly updated and the time it takes from the original idea to form into a published, viewable piece is considerably shorter. If I wanted to make this comment in a book, it would have to go through editing processes, printing processes and more until it finally made it to the shelf. Whereas, here I am, right here, right now, commenting. 

    3. The Internet is sociable. The Internet is designed for the sharing and communicating of ideas and information. I believe that you can learn so much more from other people’s points of views and experiences than you can from reading a book or watching a movie on the subject. When you’re on the Internet you can join the discussion! (Like I’m doing now). 

    So, to conclude all of that. I would say that I have become dependent on technology because it is instant and up to date, not too expensive and a communication haven. I think if all the technology were to disappear, life would come to a stand still for awhile because we simply would not be able to cope. 

  • http://twitter.com/sportsguy350 Thomas B.

    You can still spend time with your loved ones across the internet, you can still play “card games” online with opponents (being say our family members). — We don’t have to talk on the phone wishing we have to go in person, or wait for them to come home, or what-ever, you can talk on Skype, see each other’s face’s ONLINE, and you can talk and “hangouts” on Google +, the options are endless.  — Also with Iphones, Ipads, Itouches, etc, you can talk face to face with the “facetime” app where ever you are. — So the only difference is NOT being their in person (The physical aspect), oh, and as for school stuff, the internet has made it even easier to study, such as websites like: wikipedia, answers, Yahoo Answers, Dictionary.com, they even have a “dictionary app” on the Iphone. — So I think it’s safe to say that the internet is extremely important.. and it makes life WAY easier for A LOT OF PEOPLE.. 

  • http://twitter.com/sportsguy350 Thomas B.

    You can still spend time with your loved ones across the internet, you can still play “card games” online with opponents (being say our family members). — We don’t have to talk on the phone wishing we have to go in person, or wait for them to come home, or what-ever, you can talk on Skype, see each other’s face’s ONLINE, and you can talk and “hangouts” on Google +, the options are endless.  — Also with Iphones, Ipads, Itouches, etc, you can talk face to face with the “facetime” app where ever you are. — So the only difference is NOT being their in person (The physical aspect), oh, and as for school stuff, the internet has made it even easier to study, such as websites like: wikipedia, answers, Yahoo Answers, Dictionary.com, they even have a “dictionary app” on the Iphone. — So I think it’s safe to say that the internet is extremely important.. and it makes life WAY easier for A LOT OF PEOPLE.. 

  • http://twitter.com/designergirla Bonnie Boden

    Absolutely!

  • Jayshultz1

    I do admit that we do a lot of chatting by messaging which I do a lot with a few people. I can do it at anytime I wish. if I were to be talking to the same people I would be on the phone all the time and that would be counter productive. the fact is I can send back my answer or talk at anytime so if I am driving i can pullover and answer or I can talk at my leisure as opposed to the phone or in person  

  • Nospam57

    Please stop perpetuating the lie that the new millennium began in the year 2000.  The new millennium did not begin until the year 2001.

  • Neilharrison62

    if you think about it every job depends on internet or tech so all the jobs are gone!