Born in this digital generation, we are constantly drained with instant messages and rapid information, provided by the highly-advanced technology which are designed to improve our quality of life. As a digital native, the technology nowadays undeniably has brought me great convenience and satisfactory. However, when it comes to the impacts of digital technology, they are often debated among several aspects. The two huge domains: family, education and learning, will be included in my discussion.
Closer or further?
In modern days mobile phones and computers have become one of our essentials, that keep us stay connected with the social world. We are so much convinced that the bond between one another have been strengthen, due to the reachable information from the vast internet platform. We may also believe that technology gives us more channel to communicate with our family.
Technology bends time and space, allow distant people and information to meet each other. This is an obvious and well appreciated advantage. Indeed, when your parents are busy working and you are occupied with loads of school works and packed schedule, texting or calling is no doubt a simple solution to fill up the lost “together time” and missing communication between you and your family, in addition this maintains a close relationship and develops a stronger bond.
However, upon observation, what the reality reflects is slightly different from the so-called benefits explained by the designers.
People intend to stay online when they are in distant places, yet they still remain attached to the digital world even during their together time. Tiles of tablets and computers appear to be the focus on the dinning table, eyes are always sticked to the screen while chatting. It turns out to be a critical issue: people want to fill gaps with the aid of digital devices, nevertheless in the reality, they build a wall against their closest relatives.
According to a new survey, 36% of the interviewed parents said they argued with their child daily about device use, and 77% of parents feel their children get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when they are together at least a few times per week. (Kelly Wallace, 2016)
There is a huge loophole in human nature: if we are given too much, we no longer treasure it. That is what reflected from the well designed technology, as we can connect each other so easily (by updating Facebook status/ sending tweets/ calling/ messaging etc.) , we spare less value on the little moments of real time communication and intimacy.
“Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short-change ourselves. And over time, we seem to forget this, or we seem to stop caring.” – Sherry Turkle, 2012
Above that, arguments and misunderstanding will be caused, family problems like rebellious teenagers or divorcement are some worser after-effects. Until then, we may start question ourselves: does technology truly pull us closer?
Smarter or dumber? Upgrade or downgrade?
Digital technology have done great success in human development, especially on education and learning aspect. Computers with large database allow us to calculate complex math and push our limits. The internet has as well brought human on an information highway, knowledge we could only learn from heavy books are now hanging freely in the air, just a simple search will take us all around the world, or even out to space.
With brilliant designers, technology assist human for improvements, and also simplify us to turn away from troublesome and time-consuming process. For example, we now have a pocket-sized yet extremely handful device which digitalized every useful information, we seldom look for a word from a weighty paper dictionary, instead we google them, or sometimes we simply rely on the auto-correct system. Such smart convenient gadgets increase our productivity and the cost-effectiveness of production(time is saved while gaining the maximum of information), hence give human more to reach, like writing an well-proofread essay with higher quality.
Until the problems have been revealed and made known, technology may still act as an appreciable founder for human success. The claim is judged with the fact that, young generations, as a giant group of digital native, are found fault with the lack of necessary life skills and wrong intake of information.
Steve Jobs, the leading man of 20th Century, was found to live in a low tech family. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.” He answered. “The dangers he is referring to include exposure to harmful content like pornography, bullying from other kids, and perhaps worse of all, becoming addicted to their devices, just like their parents.” (Nick Bilton, 2014)
Parenting poses a crucial part in children growth, especially living under this wired world. If children are exposes to technology in the early age, they no longer learn how to seek knowledge, because knowledge are given with ease. They may lost their curiosity and passion towards learning, and by then, children stop growing psychologically. They simply receive with no hesitation nor digestion. Back to the example of digital dictionary, children learn spelling through the process of memorizing alphabet and looking for word in actual paper dictionary. Yet unfortunately the idea of technology is “simplify”, when children get use to short-cuts created by technology, they become dumb and lazy because they never learnt from experiences.
After all, digital technology have given us so much, too much that exceeds our capacity, since then we begin to abuse it. So far technology have also brought us to peeks, we should make good use of it for better learning and improvements, rather than downgrading ourselves or breaking human bonds.
(Words count: 974)
- Kelly Wallace (2016), CNN, Retrieved from 1st December, 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/03/health/teens-cell-phone-addiction-parents/
- Nick Bilton (2014), The New York Times, Retrieved from 1st December, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/fashion/steve-jobs-apple-was-a-low-tech-parent.html
- Sherry Turkle (2012), TED Talk, Retrieved from 1st December, 2016, https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript?language=en#t-324917