“What ever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paper boy and evening TV?” I think it is safe to say that the concept of a designated man dropping off milk at everyone’s doorstep each week is a little bit outdated, but the opening line of the Full House theme song still poses an intriguing question that is worth addressing. Whatever happened to human interaction without technology?
This catchy tune preceding Bob Saget’s claim to fame makes us ask ourselves what about our world is changing so quickly, and are things really better this way. The remainder of the song is really about community. We are often so distracted by new technology and all the busyness in our world that we forget to look around at the people we love.
It seems like a new form of technology is released with every passing moment. If cell phones weren’t enough to prevent us from making dinner conversation, now we have our watches to look at. It blows my mind that anyone would ever feel the need to check Instagram on their watch. Before you know it, they’ll be making shoes with built in TV screens. The world we live in is so cluttered by technology that we sometimes spend more time looking at screens than reality.
Too many teenagers (and probably adults, too) have allowed social media and Netflix to consume their lives. On any given day, a Wesleyan student could wake up and check all of his social media outlets before he even brushes his teeth. Then perhaps he’ll watch a little TV before leaving the house. At school, he will spend hours staring at his computer screen and checking his phone whenever he gets the chance. After a long, hard day at school, he will come home and watch two hours of Netflix before doing his homework on his computer- all the while checking his phone every 30 seconds for texts, Groupme notifications or anything else to bolster his popularity.
Though it is intended to maximize efficiency, the technology-focused way of life that society has built creates a slew of seriously concerning problems. Children born in this decade will grow up playing with an iPad before they learn how to tie their shoes. Because technology is placed in the hands of young children, they begin to rely on it at far too young of an age.
I got my first cell phone when I was 13, and older generations always told me about how they didn’t have one until they were in college. Today, some kids are getting their first cell phone at the age of six, and no one thinks twice about it. Kids are learning to text each other well before they’ve developed strong social skills. Although, it might be fair to say that social skills themselves have changed. Perhaps the person with the strongest social skills is no longer the one who looks you in the eye when you’re talking, but the one who sends the most appropriately worded text message with the proper emoji’s.
Not only have we begun to overuse technology for communication purposes, but we have also learned to depend on on technology as our source of self-worth. Ordinary compliments have turned into “likes” and “favorites.” Our culture wants to create comparison in every way possible. If we aren’t competing to see who has the most likes, we are fighting for more notifications so we can proclaim our popularity.
As I’m sure you’re well-aware, technology has even created a new platform for bullying. The days of stealing lunch money are long gone. If a modern bully wants to rid himself of insecurity, he composes a “roast” on “Rapchat” to make fun of one or more of his peers.
Isn’t it ironic that I am typing this article on my computer for you, the reader, to view online? This addiction is inescapable. Our modern world has us all hooked, and there is really no way out. That being said, technology doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Just remember to look at something palpable every now and then, and don’t forget to breath. Turn your phone off every once in a while, and enjoy each other’s company. Realize that sometimes the technology that was created to increase efficiency actually makes our lives extraordinarily inefficient. Let every technological device you use be a productive tool rather than a distraction, and don’t let your phone replace your friends. Because after all, everywhere you look, there’s a heart.