I have always been an advocate for the simple life, but easy-to-use technological advancements have people digitalizing their lives these days, and the temptation is there—even for me. Ask anyone, I am pretty much the opposite of that which is hip and trendy. For example, I am still without a Twitter, I am illiterate when it comes to pop culture, and I’d rather shop at Goodwill than waste money on anything that is name brand.
However, I love my iPhone, and it would be awfully preachy of me to tell you to cut down on your use of technology as I sit here and type an article for an online publication on my lap top while checking my Facebook every ten minutes.
My concern is not technology in general. Obviously, I do appreciate electricity, running water, and the vast breadth of information that is available for me when I need it. However, I am concerned with the way that modern conveniences are affecting my generation and those to come.
In my opinion, the two main negative results of the Digital Age are materialism and an overwhelming need for instant gratification. The alarming rate at which companies are producing new and fascinating technology leaves children longing for the latest and greatest piece of modern equipment. In addition, kids and teens are exhibiting signs of complete dependence on technology.
How many eighth graders do you know that do not have a cell phone for texting their friends? How many college students do you know that do not use a computer to complete essentially all of their homework assignments? This dependence perpetuates materialism, in my opinion, and I find it discouraging that so many of our relationships and many of our academic endeavors depend on computers and smart phones.
The way in which the Internet and sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide kids and teens with instant gratification is hotwiring us to expect immediacy in life. Amongst the U.S.’s younger generations, this urgency seems to dissolve our work ethics as we simply expect that we will be given what we want right away. Instead of taking our time with things, everything is rushed and accelerated. There is no value in the search anymore, no honor in waiting, no love of the quest or respect for the chase.
Maybe I’m reading into things a bit when I say that, but I believe this to be true: Technology is often a detriment to the development and maturity of America’s youth because of the manner in which it destroys our patience.
As teachers, parents or students, I am encouraging you to challenge the youth in your life to unplug. You too! Yes you! Be an example for your student or child, and promise that you’ll be present to him or her whenever you can.
Let’s not get wrapped up in the cyber world. Let’s live in the now!