My Mother sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago that was titled “To the under-forty crowd” about how lucky my generation has been in regards to technology and how easy it has made our lives. There’s a lot of truth to it; for instance, we can pretty much communicate with anyone we want at any time. We can control what we watch and what we listen to, and for how long and for how much. We can basically have everything we want packed into one little microchip.
I remember the various stages of technology; when I was about eight, my Dad set up my first e-mail account, we still had dial-up, I owned both a regular CD player as well as the portable version. To answer the phone, we had to say “Hello, (last name) residence!” because you couldn’t see who was calling.
When I was eleven I got The Sims Deluxe Edition for my birthday, which I was once spent about seven hours per day playing. Virtually being able to control other people’s lives was the easiest cure for boredom, but would become the cause for boredom when it began having problems and eventually crashed the computer (Mom, suffice to say, was not very happy about that). She threatened to crack the discs in half many times over.
At thirteen I had my first cell phone, alas it was a trac-phone that you continually added minutes too. I had AIM installed, making in easier to communicate with friends. “Buddy Profiles”, as well as having Xanga blogs were pretty popular at the time.
At fourteen I had a flip-phone as well as the fastest computer in the house. And I made a myspace profile and kept in touch with people on there; this is turn started the “New Pictures! Please comment” craze among many girls my age at that time. I realize that I myself did this at that particular time, but talk about low self-esteem! Does one seriously need people to tell them how hot their pictures are in order to feel good? I strongly believe that quite a few of them did. And to look “hot” so to speak, there was no smiling, and a couple hours of photoshopping.
I was given an MP3 player at the end of eighth grade, which eventually led to receiving my brother’s old first generation ipod, I got a Nano at some point during freshman year, and after the sound became messed up I returned it (thank goodness for year-long warranty!) I currently own the second generation Nano.
Of all things, I was introduced to Facebook during the summer of my freshman year. Currently, I have skype, and I caved and made myself a twitter account. I’m debating as to whether or not I want to get an Ipod Touch for school, but am going to wait until I come home for the first time to see if I really need it. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the blu-ray player in the living room.
Now granted, having these kinds of things makes life ten times more easier, especially in terms of writing and communicating. But this technological frontier also has a dark side; it tends to suck you into a lifestyle that isn’t always very healthy.
Let’s take Facebook, for example. When I first started using it, I enjoyed being able to keep up with what was going on in my friend’s lives, especially the ones that I didn’t go to school with. I loved it when people posted on my wall, if only just for the sake of saying hello.
And really, who doesn’t love it when people take the time to talk to them? From my freshman through junior year of high school, I was logging on to this cyber network almost ten times per day. If my current crush at the time sent me a message or post on my wall, it pretty much made my day. But if they didn’t, or if any of my friends didn’t talk to me for a long time, the doubts would set in. Does this person truly like me? Did I do something to make them mad? What’s going on? When Facebook started up with the whole chat thing, I would either walk away feeling like I was on cloud nine, or completely pissed off. This was the case when it came to boys, in particular.
Oh and let’s not forget texting. During my junior year, I often lost sleep because I stayed up until midnight or later texting people. There was something about being able to have a deep and intelligent conversation with someone underneath the covers with only the light of a phone screen (as risque as that sounds, there’s some truth to it). Most nights I fell asleep a happy girl, but there were nights where I also cried to exhaustion as well.
And that’s why I call it technologism; because for millions of people, it’s addicting. Whether it be with the internet or some type of gadget, they just have to have it.
Since then I’ve begun to limit myself as to how often I use the internet, at times for how often I even go on the computer. For anything you do in life, balance is the key. It’s all right to social network and what not with others, just make sure you’re not constantly connected to it. That’s why I only go on Facebook, blogger, etc. twice a day and stay away from it while I’m on vacation.
I actually do have a challenge for anyone who reads this: One will claim that they can’t survive without television, the computer, and about a half a dozen other things. But previous generations lived without it for at least fifty years, so I do believe that it’s possible that my generation can as well.
- Instead of sitting in front of the TV and vegging, watching only one hour per day. The rest of the time, go outside, getting a couple of people together (or maybe even a whole group) and play some type of game. If you’re able to, go swimming! Go for a walk. Read a book.
- Heck, if you even want to go a bit further, try only watching the local cable channels; Don’t use a DVR or Tivo to record anything. If you miss it, well then you miss it. You’re life is not going to end just because you didn’t get to watch Pretty Little Liars.
- Forgo texting and the internet (for at least one day) to communicate. Keep the cell phone in your room unless you need it. Make an actual phone call. Or why not just walk over and talk to them if you’re able to?
- Start keeping an actual journal if you don’t have one. If you’re a blogger like myself, take a couple of days to write down your own personal thoughts. I have a journal of my own, but haven’t kept up with it very much. Write down personal thoughts and feelings that you wouldn’t dare share with anyone else.
- Maybe you could even take a break from those earbuds for a bit and crank up the radio. Granted you’re not in control of what song comes on, but that’s half the fun! You might even find yourself introduced to a new artist or genre because of it.