Friday, January 21, 2011
It's true that kids today are overly dependent on technology. My cell phone broke last night. I use the alarm clock on that phone, and I was late to school today. I'm just one of the many teenagers - and people in general - whose life is affected by and reliant on the technology in it. The same technology that has improved lives and that allows us to keep up with the world is also what is ironically leading us farther away from the people in it.
The issue is not that we have been given the resources to easily communicate with anyone, anywhere, and at any time. The problem is that the technology that has been developed as we grow up has created a lifestyle in which we have to be in constant communication with other people. It has created a way of living that wasn't even an option before the widespread use of social networks and cell phones.
Not only do we live in a digital age with the access to more media than ever, but the way we function in relation to the world around us has changed. Some say that being raised in today's electronic world has simply altered the way our minds work.
Communication technologies have made relationships more distant and shallow. People can use texting and social networking sites to have contact with many other people at a less personal level, rather than having fulfilling relationships with the people they actually know and care about.
Kids get to know each other now often by text messaging or chatting online. People think they "know" someone after texting back and forth or looking at their Facebook profile. Either way, you can't truly get to know someone by looking at words on a screen.
What's sad about the effect technology has on the way we function socially is that it appears to be irreversible. Cell phones and Internet resources aren't going to go away. The inevitable technological advances, if anything, will only add to the growing void in how we relate to one another. It's possible that someday soon you may walk into most businesses and stores and be assisted by computers and self-checkout machines. At that point, where do people gain experience on interacting with others?
Kids will continue to grow up in a world that doesn't stress actual relations with people as critical life skills.
It's not unusual to see a teenager pulling out a phone and texting in class, during a meal, or while with other people. It's also not unusual to be on the computer for hours, checking email and updating Facebook.
The problem with this rude and unsocial behavior is that we've been raised in a society where it is acceptable. Many adults in our lives act the same way. But how can you not give in to the constant communication of modern technology and still stay in touch with the world?
The key is to not forget that even though everything is so fast-paced, real relationships take actual time. It's worth slowing down every once in awhile if at the end of the day we can turn off our cell phones and computers and know that we have solid relationships with real people.
Kenzie Yoshimura is a junior at Hood River Valley High School. Yoshimura is interning at Hood River News through Summit Career Center.