The Technology Addiction Of Today
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Politics and Activism

Every Day, We Choose The Web Over The World Without Even Realizing It

How we are becoming servants to our smartphones and feeding into technology addictions.

Every Day, We Choose The Web Over The World Without Even Realizing It

Today, it's everywhere you look. Technology has taken over. Smartphones captivate and dominate the world of communication, and not only that, but the minds of millions of adults, adolescents, and even children. If you look around as you are on your morning commute, walk to school, or trip to the mall, well… you might be the only one doing so.

More people than not are now choosing to tread water instead of standing on solid ground. Technology, though easy and efficient, is not concrete. It is not solid.

Yes, it holds an abundance of information in a small amount of space, all of which is easily accessible, but the sources of this information remain largely unknown. Even further, because these sources are left unknown, oftentimes the stories and news that we are eating up ends up not quite being the truth, or at least not the whole truth. Because so much is available to us at all times and without hassle, we take as much as we want, and as much as we can get, willingly and happily. Most of the time, we accept what is being fed to us. Sometimes, though, we do not, which leads to my next point.

In a world dominated by social media, platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have taken on a crucial role when it comes to activism and awareness. When something is wrong and a change needs to be made, these platforms are where many people turn to express their grievances and get the word out. While this is a fast and effective way to spread the word to millions of people in a matter of seconds, does this really result in the change we are fighting for? Unfortunately, no, this change is not guaranteed.

Technology is indirectly teaching us to become submissive and subdued, choosing online dialogues over face-to-face interaction. While this may, in some cases, be sufficient, when it comes time for a push towards change, this is not the best way to go about making an effort. Though spreading the word and raising awareness is a crucial step when it comes to making a difference, the rate of progress would likely soar if we took it upon ourselves to make those face-to-face, concrete interactions that truly lead to change. Even if face-to-face conversations aren't your thing, there are other steps you can take to make your voice heard at a louder level than is the case when you, for example, get a hashtag trending.

Here are just a few things you can do which may prove more effective than dedicating your time to social media movements:

  • Write letters to government representatives when the topic is relevant.
  • Participate in elections to the best of your ability, including small, local elections (meaning, yes, you should do your research before you choose that person whose name is most familiar)
  • Offer donations to relevant organizations or charities (as long as, again, **you have done your research** to confirm that your money is going exactly where you want it to)
  • Or, if you personally cannot make a donation, encourage others to do so
  • Even better, join relevant organizations, if possible
  • Participate in nonviolent demonstrations

Let's stop on that last point. Some argue that demonstrations such as rallies and marches are just as ineffective as simple social media tags. This criticism often appears, for example, as a response to the annual women's marches across the country, and, really, around the globe. Here is what I have to say about that: sure, you can argue that this is simply a louder, more visible way to do the same thing social media does.

Sure, you can say that people are wasting their time. You can make whatever comments you wish. This is why demonstrations are, indeed, more effective and more powerful than social media movements: they are visible, live, and loud. Social media movements, though meaningful and often organized, exist solely online. They make people say, "okay, so all of these people 'care' about this issue, but only enough to open the app downloaded on the smartphone that already in their hands ".

Demonstrations, however, take that a step further.

Demonstrations say, "See all of these people? These are people who were personally hurt, or who have loved ones who have been hurt, or who are simply hurt because they have seen others get hurt. These are people who care, and they care enough to leave the house and make the journey to be here. Some of them drove, some flew, some took trains, and maybe some simply had to walk down the block, but they are here because they care". That, ladies and gentlemen and everyone in between, is the difference.

Furthermore, because demonstrations are a large, group effort, those who find themselves battling the technology-induced anxiety of today may find this to be an example of actual person-to-person interaction that they are comfortable partaking in. If we continue to develop a "don't just say something, do something" mentality, I believe we will be able to achieve the progress we are fighting for.

Technology has become great at hindering our ability to have important, meaningful experiences, and our ability to fully absorb these experiences. Ten years ago, if you attended a concert, you could look around at a sea of thousands of smiling people singing and dancing, completely engulfed in the music.

Today, you can look around at a concert and see thousands of little lights all around you, beaming from the screens of smartphones upon smartphones upon smartphones. Some of these smartphone holders might be smiling, but don't be deceived! It's probably because they got the perfect picture for Instagram, or their Snapstory finally, finally posted. Curse those stadiums for their bad Wi-Fi.

Today, you will see thousands of people more engulfed in their phones than in the music. Often, this is just the way that people choose to hang on to precious memories, whether it is by taking a photo to capture the moment, or literally saving memories, a recent feature from Snapchat.

I, too, have been guilty of using my phone as my outlet for experiencing concerts, but have come to the realization that in doing this, I am allowing myself to be submerged in the wrong component of the experience. In fact, I don't think smartphones should even be a component of the experience. You are there for the music, the artist, the feeling. You spent money to be there. You traveled to be there. You waited weeks, months, and maybe even years to be there. Make the most of it.

We are so wrapped up in the world of the web that we forget to live in the moment, and sometimes we might even forget how to live in the moment. Because of this, there are so many things we miss out on.

Maybe you missed that guitar solo everyone else is going wild over because you were too busy editing and filtering the picture you took with your friends before the show started. Maybe you missed the best part of the sunset because you got a text from someone, god forbid you don't respond in two seconds. Maybe you missed the shooting star that the rest of your family saw, or the dolphins jumping out of the water, or your sister blowing out her birthday candles because you were busy wondering why she just liked your post or why he took three hours to text you back.

No matter how big or how small, life is full of beautiful moments that mean something, and moments that would have turned into memories had you been focused on the right thing.

Every day, I see tables of friends all texting other people on their phones instead of talking to each other.

I see trains full of commuters all going to the same place, but staying silent because they would rather update Facebook than have real human interaction. I see people rushing, narrowly avoiding running into signs and poles because they found their cellphone screens more interesting than what was in front of them. I see pairs of people walking by, one of them talking a mile a minute while the other pretends to be listening as they scroll through Twitter.

I'm not saying I'm not guilty of having taken part in these at some point in my life, but I am saying I am ready for a change.

I think we need a change.

The more we allow ourselves to become servants of our smartphones, the worse our addiction to it all becomes. In fact, technology addiction actually puts our wellbeing at risk. Becoming dependent on technology can result in social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities that don't involve some form of technology.

The more we give in, the worse it will get. This is why it is necessary to start making changes, if not for ourselves, then for the sake of human interaction. Imagine a world where absolutely no one speaks to each other face-to-face. Scary, right? It's even scarier when you think about the fact that if things don't change, this really could be our reality one day.

Take a tech break. Go outside. Get into the habit of taking on activities that require you to put away your phone and find your sense of self again. Practice being mindful and present.

Not only will this help break the cycle of compulsivity related to technology, but it will also help you feel more at peace, and a little more peace in the world doesn't sound so bad.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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