In many ways, technology has enhanced our daily lives. We are capable of doing things today that our grandparents never would have dreamed of doing. But at the same time, technology has occasionally changed our lives for the worse. For virtually any new technology that has emerged in the past 20 years, it’s easy to think of both positive and negative characteristics. Digital tools such as cell phones, the Internet, and computers have simplified our lives. However, the argument can also be made that such technologies have screwed up our lives while simplifying them.
1. Cell Phones
Whatever you call it – cell phone, smart phone, Blackberry, iPhone – it’s made us reachable no matter where we are, which can’t be a good thing. Once upon a time, when you were away from work, the only way you could be contacted was via your home phone. Not anymore. With one of these things, you can be tracked down wherever you are. Another negative about cell phones is that people always are on them talking to someone rather than talking to live people who are right there with them. All of the talking, texting, and emailing has made us an impolite society of boobs. It’s gotten so bad that even kids have cell phones. What does a 7 year old need a cell phone for? Mark my words – babies in cribs will soon have their own cell phones.
2. Bluetooth/Wireless Headsets
Everyone has seen someone wearing one of these gadgets in their ears. You might even own one yourself. These are the headsets that fit right in your ear and allow you to talk on your cell phone hands-free. It might be nice for driving, but it makes people look like pompous idiots when they wear them in public, walking down the street or in the grocery store just talking away. How many times have you been in the rest room and heard someone in another stall talking on the phone? You don’t know whether or not to answer them back – if they’re talking on a phone, talking to you, or talking to their imaginary friend.
3. Video Game Players
As if we weren’t lazy and fat enough from watching television 20 hours out of the day, now we have another digital distraction – the Playstation, Wii, or whichever one you own in your household. Kids no longer want to play outside when they can have fun in their virtual worlds indoors. Worse yet, some are portable, such as the PSP or Nintendo DS, which means kids can take them everywhere they go. We’re teaching our kids to be lazier and lazier as we get fatter and fatter. It’s also impairing their social skills, when kids would rather be indoors playing with their wireless friends instead of outside with real people. It’s helping to turn us into a world of social phobics.
4. Portable DVD players
Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned travel games like “I Spy” or the license plate game? It seems that they have gone by the wayside. Now, even on short trips, families must load up the DVD player with mindless entertainment to keep the kids quiet and occupied during the ride and take away any creativity they might have had. It might make the trip more bearable for the adults, but it’s taking something fundamental away from kids – imagination and the ability to make their own fun.
There are so many ways that the Internet has screwed up lives, it’s hard to figure out where to start with this one. No one wants to communicate face-to-face or by telephone anymore when they can do it through email. Social networking sites have ruined lives, as they’ve helped put us back in contact with people we’d no longer see (like high school sweethearts or other “missed opportunities”). Children have become victims of online predators. Men (and women) have discovered online pornography, often to the detriment of their interpersonal relationships. Yes, the Internet is a great invention, but its sheer vastness and unlimited potential also makes it a dangerous one.
Granted, computers have contributed a lot to society in various ways. But they have also led to the buggering up of our lives in other ways. Computers monopolize all of our time, making us a society of people who prefer to communicate online than in person and people who can’t hold simple conversations or maintain interpersonal relationships. Computers have also changed our educational system, and not always for the better. Some schools don’t even require students to learn cursive writing anymore, as with the proliferation of computers, it’s not a necessary skill. Before long, you can bet schools won’t require kids to learn to handwrite at all!
7. Remote Control
Remote controls are another way we’ve become lazy, fat couch potatoes. Lose the remote and you have a small crisis in the living room. It would be terrible if you had to actually get up to change the channel! Remote controls aren’t just for televisions anymore, either. You can control anything – lights, fans, stereos, – with a remote control. Some people have 5 or 6 of them, each for different things (for those who can’t master the All-In-One Remote, that is).
8. Voice Mail
Voice mail is an exasperating but necessary technology. The idea of individual voice mailboxes really puts some people off. “Press 1 if you want to leave a message for the dog, 2 to leave a message for Jimmy, 3 for Rose, or 4 if you’ve had enough and just want to shoot yourself.” Why can’t voice mail be simple and easy, and not confusing (especially to our older friends and relatives who just can’t figure out these new contraptions and give up without leaving a message)?
9. Book Readers
E-book readers have screwed up the effortless process of reading a book. These computerized books, such as Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook, take away the simple pleasure of reading books. We can’t even hold a hardback or paper back book in our hands and turn the pages anymore? That’s the height of laziness. Gone is that distinctive smell of a new book just opened, ready for you to read. Next they’ll be capturing that, too, and trying to include it in these e-readers!
10. Phone Routing Systems
You hear this complaint all the time, but it never gets any better. It seems that, when calling any kind of office, company, or service, it’s impossible to reach a live person unless you stay on the line through all of the prompts, hoping the operator or someone with a little bit of common sense comes on the line to help. Then, you’re put on hold for 20 minutes, waiting to speak to a real live person who probably doesn’t speak your language anyway.