Let’s begin by reviewing important phases of technology use. These dates listed are based on when the sources of technology became popular, not when they were invented. The purpose of this is to exercise your mind to think about what life was like or might have been like before the onset of ubiquitous technological consumption.
The Computer became widely used in: 1980
That was 38 years ago. Someone who’s in thier late 40’s could remember life before the computer.
*I’m based these age groups for remembering life before popular technology at age 10, an age a child can store memories more clearly.
The internet became popular in: 1991. That was 27 years ago. Only people in their mid-30’s and older could appreciate life before the internet.
The year the cell phone became popular was: 1996. The first cell phone made widely assessable was the Motorola flip phone (phone without screens yet). This means that people in their mid-fourties can remember life before cell phones.
In 2003, Call of Duty a video game simulating the infantry and combined arms warfare of WWII was released, and was played by especially young males on the couches of basements and living rooms across the USA and beyond. Call of Duty set the trend for another violent yet insatiably entertaining video game call Grand Theft Auto (AKA “GTA”) in 2004 for Playstation 2 and 2005 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox.
The year Social Media became popular was: 2004. Facebook was the trendsetter for many other social media forms to follow. That was 14 years ago, so people who are of the age of 25 and older can appreciate life before social media.
In the same year Social Media became widely used, the anachronism FOMO, was created. FOMO stands for: Fear of Missing Out. FOMO is also defined as: “pervasive apprehension that others might be having a rewarding experience from which one is absent.”
On January 9th, 2007, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at the Macworld Convention historically changing the landscape of technology forever. The year the smartphone became popular was: 2010. So this would indicate that people 18 years of age or older are more likely to benefit from their childhood years without a “mobile screen”.
Just this year, in 2018, Fortnite another violent video game has taken American Youth by storm, allowing playing to socially connect virtually while killing people with guns. I wonder is there is a connection with the staggering numbers of school shootings in 2018 with the advent of Fortnite.
Interestingly enough, in was in the same year that the iPhone was born that Google Searches of universal content, and creating related searches from Google became a household staple across the globe.
The Benefits and Downsides of Technology: A Few Examples
*Texting a friend that you’re ok, but running late
*Find My Friends App to locate friends and loved ones
(Look up “Peer GPS”, an upward trend on college campuses to keep students safer when leaving late night parties).
*Wikipedia replacing the Encyclopedia (if you don’t know what an encyclopedia is that means you are REALLY young, LOL).
*Being able to Google Search ANYTHING and get quick answers to burning questions
*Anyone being able to conduct a background search on a potential employee or romantic partner
*Looking up medical information about medications and symptom checking on WebMD
*Being able to meet a potential dating partner for singles who go on dating websites
*Connecting to people all around the world with multiple platforms ranging from Skype to Facebook.
*Being able to work remotely from anywhere as long as there is Wi-Fi
*Numerous downloadable Apps that help people track their heart rate, breathing rate, walking steps, quality of sleep, nutritional intake, weight loss, and even women’s time of ovulation to try to get pregnant.
*Being able to shop on websites like Amazon where you can buy almost anything imaginable and have in delivered to your doorstep within two days for FREE!
*Reducing de-forestation and increasing recycling go going paperless.
*Improvement in Homeland Security
*Texting and driving leading to more fatal car accidents than drunk driving; texting and walking has also become a big problem in public places where there are cars and bikers.
*Technology addiction comes as no surprise: addiction to shopping, addiction to pornography, addiction to social media, addiction to online gambling, addiction to screen time, addiction to avoiding humans and replacing them with screens; addiction to prioritizing the importance of technology over meaningful relationships
*Equating popularity with number of friends of Facebook or number of likes on Facebook posts
*Finding out about events that you’re not included in from social media
*Being Cyber-bullied to the point of developing reduced self-esteem, intense depression, and even suicide which is on the rise for teen-agers and young adults who are the ones using social media the most. Teens seem to love Snap chat because their messages are untraceable unless a recipient takes a screenshot
*Sexting and sexualizing others through the ease of texting, just two clicks away, one clicking the selfie, and the next to click- the point of no return, the “Sext”, that once it leaves the sender’s phone, could potentially go viral as we have seen with politicians like Anthony Weiner in the Media.
*Abuse of technology whether it’s scamming people through fake emails, placing viruses on peoples’ computer by just clicking one wrong button, misrepresenting oneself on dating websites, luring in children for sexual abuse or even sex-trafficking, or spying on others without the others knowledge.
After reading these dates of inventions in order, we could say all this technology is helpful. It allows us to live more productive lives. The world is more connective than ever.
On the flipside, consider how much screen time is too much. Are we prioritizing communication via technology instead of talking to our friends and loved ones in person? Is texting easier that picking up the phone? How invested are you in checking your social media? How distracted are you when you’re trying to get work done on your computer, only to find yourself checking your personal email? Is your online shopping behavior out of control? Do you tend to sit on the couch watching TV with your smartphone or tablet in your hands instead of enjoying the outdoors in summertime?
When there are so many choices to pick from that technology offers, ranging from 24/7 news, hundreds of TV channels and Radio Channels and YouTube Channels, etc., it’s difficult to narrow down one particular choice. We dilute our focus in how we want to spend our time.
With so many options, how do we narrow down our selections? How do we say “NO” to the options we don’t have physical time to exhaust? There are so many minutes in the day; there are so many days in our lives. How will we use that time with so many technological distractions? How will we be able hold down our internal values, beliefs, traditions, morals as technology continues to develop, continues to increasingly pervade our lives?
There is an illusion that we are getting more done with the conveniences of technology. But if we are constantly in throws of the multiple facets of technology, then we actually getting nothing done. We feel busy, and that makes us feel better for the moment, but when you put the screen away, are we really better for it?
By the way, I’ve using my computer to write this blog, making Google and Wikipedia searches on my iPad to gather dates while blogging, and listening to music on my iPhone with ear buds simultaneously.
Today’s Take Aways:
Try this week reducing your time you spend on your screens. Write in a journal what activities you did instead and it that experience felt to you. Carve out time to see your friends, family and neighbors in person without being in a rush to get home to continue with screen time. Promise yourself you will get up from your computer desk, and go for a nature walk, or soak up from sunshine.
Focus on what is most important to you. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Remain loyal to your time management, prioritization and your humanness. Build strength to say NO to tempting choices on the internet that take you away from your chosen path.
Pick a path. Pick a good one; the right one that is made from scratch just for you. Own that decision, and stick to it without self-doubt.
Stay mindful about creating balance between screen time and people time. Not just people meaning others, but you are a person too. You need time by yourself, comfortable in your own skin, comfortable in your solitude without a screen in your hand.
If you’ve finished reading this blog to the finish, job well done. Remember it doesn’t matter What Your Age is. You CAN UNLEARN LEARNED BEHAVIORS. Check out some of my other blogs on my website for suggestions on how to make this happen.