Technology Rules Over Us

Most of life today can be described as technology. Technology is a form of precious living to many young adults in this century; and many say that they cannot live without it. Electronic devices have grown to show that it is possible to take away happiness from our lives. What can happen to these people if we do take away these devices from them?

Many things are possible when people look up to see what is around them. Like Adam Atler, a psychologist has done, take vacations for an example; they are supposed to be times where you escape from reality for a moment and enjoy your surroundings. Nowadays, however, have changed where vacations have turned into snapping photos and capturing memories to look at later; rather than capturing memories with your very own eyes at the moment. Vacations can be much more valuable when you enjoy every second of it and take an advantage of the place. It is much more different seeing laughter and joy through a camera’s screen than in person.

Electronic devices are now used as a necessary source to go through life. It saves notes for us and reminds us of things we need to do later. It takes pictures and saves them in the storage as “memories”. It “entertains” us with games that never end. However, we do have the ability to do all of these actions with our own physical bodies. For example, we can memorize things off the top of our heads, which usually means we have a good understanding of the topic and will remember it for a longer time period. We can also see things around us and remember it while enjoying it thoroughly in detail at that very moment. Last but not least, we can play games with other people. Interaction with others is a major factor that has been taken away from us.

We do not experience the world as we used to a couple of years ago. Back then, kids used to play in the dirt, play with other kids, and run around playgrounds all day long. Meanwhile, parents cooked dinner as the rest of the family got home, and proud families attended high school sport games. Today, we give little kids our phones or tablets to keep them from crying; and we watch the highlights on social media. We are preventing ourselves from any social interaction with the real world and instead are strengthening the interaction between ourselves and our phones.

Adam Alter went over the typical life of a person in his TEDtalk, “Why our screens make us less  happy”. It showed a change from 2007 to 2017; and although many of the topics stayed the same, our personal time changed tremendously. We have completely changed the ratio of personal time to technology time. In the following table, Alter emphasized the major impact of electronic devices in our lives. In reality, we don’t ever find time for ourselves because we spend it all on our phones.

Atler presented this table during his TEDtalk to help his audience see the change over time. The red shows the time taken up by our electronic devices.

Alter states that this is because of  the lack of stopping cues. Stopping cues let us know when we are done with something; like finishing a book. Once a chapter is done, we know it is time to put the book done. However, social media seems to never end; for example, you have instagram that gives you another page to look at other topics that lead to other relating topics and then subtopics and so on. Media is a source that never gives you a stopping cue; so your mind must dig deeper to reach an end that is nonexistent.

In the end, we can conclude that our attachment to our phones is because of our decisions to look further into something over completing our duties. We can each change that by taking baby steps away from our electronic devices. It will eventually get to a point where productive and personal time dominate over technological time in our lives. This will lead to a happier life with an expansion towards your interactions with the real world.