The Pitfalls of Technology

Every day, from the moment you first wake up to the sounds of your digital alarm clock to the rushed last minutes of research you attempt to finish on the Internet before you go to bed, your life is centered around technology. With the advent of so many new inventions and ways to do things, there has been a radical shift in the way we live our lives. Instead of checking out a book the good old-fashioned way at the library, we listen to books on tape and buy them on Amazon. Instead of going to concerts and seeing live bands, we download music on iTunes and watch them on YouTube. Everything is faster, digitalized and indirect. But are we as a society advancing, or are we merely being dragged down by technology’s drawbacks? Take for instance, the Internet. These days, people can live almost their entire lives without moving an inch from their chair. You can buy your groceries online and have them delivered right to your door, conduct business at home straight from your computer and even go on an online shopping spree without having to try one thing on. It certainly makes it a lot easier not having to do things face-to-face, but does not help much in the way of creating an interactive society. Although I cannot deny that the Internet has made available many resources that would otherwise have not been accessible (such as online encyclopedias and search engines that bring up hundreds of results on even the most obscure of subjects), it has also created a negative impact on the way people communicate with each other in real life. You have all heard of the type: the socially inept, awkward teen that spends his days shut in his room playing World of Warcraft, who is on Level 15 in the virtual world, but cannot so much as make eye contact with a member of the opposite sex. Nowadays this once fabled stereotype is common in almost every community in the country. With over 55% of the American youth using social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Livejournal, the Internet has really become a leading force in the way we communicate. For students such as ourselves, it allows us to keep in touch with old friends via Facebook or instant messaging, and it truly makes the world seem like a smaller place. However, there is something wrong when the wall-to-wall between you and the person you went to the Sadie Hawkins dance with is longer than all the conversations you have ever had with him in real life combined. In spite of all this, I am not an advocate of completely abandoning technology and going back to the Dark Ages. As I have said before, the Internet has made attainable a cacophony of information and opportunity that would have otherwise been inaccessible, and has truly connected the world. In addition, with the invention of cell phones and television, it no longer takes months for news to travel from one side of the country to another, and community are, on the whole, more informed and educated. Not to mention that because of airplanes, students like us can take advantage of coming to school in Andover even if we live halfway across the globe. The opportunities it presents us are abound. Technology is present everywhere, and it is possible to reap its benefits without losing yourself to its negative side. If you find yourself getting caught up in the whir of day-to-day life, just remember to “stop and smell the roses.”