Saturday, January 8, 2011

Are you plugged in or logged off?

Technology is something for the  younger generation, right? With Xbox, Wii, iphones, social networking, smart cars, and the millions of other gadgets have some crowds feeling disconnected, out of touch and at times frustrated by the sense that life has changed faster than they can keep up. Frustration leads to cop outs such as "all this technology has ruined our society. Kids are lazy and they don't know how to interact with others because everything is digital and done for them."

Technology was destined to make all of us "lazy" in a way. That's why we invented it, to ease the stress and burden of everyday life and to enhance our living experiences.  But before we scold people for being interested in gadgets and gizmo's, make sure everyone looks at technology in their daily lives. You might find so much technology you never considered because of the routine and ubiquitous nature of it.

For as long as there have been people, there has been technology. It is not a new concept. So when I read about a  teacher posing a challenge to their students to go one week without technology, I was excited to hear about their experiences! Many of them equated it as to living an alien existence. A few quit before the week was up. Not having access to their iphone was just too much to bear!

My thought is, can you blame them? Has technology made us lazy? Perhaps -i no longer need to know how to spell anything anymore, thanks spell checker. Has technology increased our sedentary lifestyle which increases our overall health risks. Sure -but don't tell me that the mills, factories and coal mines of  early 20th century industrialism provided a healthier work environment than sitting in a cubical staring at a screen.

I won't defend being lazy and unhealthy. I will however say there is hardly anything in our daily lives that isn't touched by technology. For the critics of technology, see if you can eliminate these three staples from your day.

1. Eliminate electricity. By doing so you now no longer can use:
TV, radio, dvd,blueray, stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, hair dryer, curling iron, blender, mixer, ipod, camera, video camera, refrigerator, freezer, thermostat, hot water, lamps, lights, ceiling fans, toaster, waffle iron, panini press, vacuum, computer, alarm clock, microwave or anything else that runs on an alternating current. In your new world of no electricity, the term "plugged in" does not exist.

2. Eliminate the automobile. Hey at least this will save you gas and you will be doing your part to cut down on sprawl -if you live walking distance to work! If not, you might want to invest in a horse.

3. Eliminate the telephone. The original social networking device.

You might be able to do it for a day and might even find it to be a peaceful, but I would guess a day or two would be all you can do. There is no need to go backwards. There is technology for everyone. We don't have to embrace all of it. But to categorize it as wasted money, for kids, or detrimental to our health, is seeing the glass as half empty. Technology has also saved us money, provided adults to reconnect with childhood friends, and has saved lives.

Technology has been around forever, it will be around as long as there are people. As long as we continue to have imaginations we will have new creations. The cool thing is, if you have an idea for something - a project for work, a way to watch TV more clearly, finding a way to deliver a presentation- thanks to technology, there's an app for that!

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