My Hate and Love Relationship with Technology
My eyes are hurting, my brain is dead and I am still trying to figure out this “Thing” called technology!!! How can I love something, that gives me so much headache? Yet I can’t go a single hour without it. Can I live a simple life with technology?
Good Old Days
I remember not to long ago, as an example, going to a concert was really simple. All I needed was to come up with some cash to buy my ticket. We would walk up to a booth and receive this pretty ticket in our hands, and our excitement would be sky high. I also remember when our phone would ring in the kitchen and everybody would run to it. Hoping the call was for them. Grandma would tell her stories to us and I would take notes. Then I would use the typewriter to write all my grandmother’s stories. Along the way, we were all introduced to something called internet and things started changing. Of course if you are anything like me, I thought I could stop this unknown technology to enter into my life.
Good old days are gone
Fast forward 15-20 years, and now it seems that even going to a concert requires tech degree. I know, you may be thinking that I am exaggerating. I bought these tickets to see Andrea Bocelli (who would not want to?) ONLINE 9 months ago. Since then I have been waiting for an email, that includes our tickets. Well, if you were born in this century, you would know, that it is not going to happen. Instead I have been getting these emails, reminding me to download an app and get my tickets thru an app. The email also stated:
“This event is mobile entry only. Your mobile ticket must be displayed on your phone to get into the event. Tickets will not be mailed or available for print. Using your Ticketmaster App or mobile web , login and select your event. Don’t have the app? Download it here. View and add your tickets to your phone’s wallet before arriving at the event.* Select the Transfer Tickets button and send tickets directly to everyone else in your party.* From your phone’s wallet, display your mobile ticket at entry and you’re in! *Please note, not all tickets are eligible for mobile delivery and ticket transfer.”
What about grandpa?
After receiving this email, I told my husband, “if it wasn’t for Andrea, I would not be going to this concert??” Really, do I really need to be in the tech industry to go to a concert??!!! Maybe it is just me, maybe Robert and I are the last people left on this planet who get frustrated about this stuff. Sure I know how to download an app, but what happens after that, well… 30 minutes later, finally figured it all out, at least for this event. Robert always tells me, “honey, thanks for figuring out all this stuff, anything happens to you, I won’t be going anywhere”. Truth is, I have no idea what I am doing most of the time. But as my good friend told me recently “if you don’t know it, just ask google”. I really would like to send a Christmas card to Google. I tell you what, Google has become one of my closest friends.
How Technology Has Changed Us
I miss the days when I could call someone and actually talk to them, instead of having to text. It is interesting how suddenly as a whole, we are all too busy to answer our phones. I do agree, that sometimes it is so much easier to just text, but what about the negative side effects of texting. Because of texting, most people have discovered its impact in their relationships somehow. We have a rule at our house, our family eats together every night. During dinner time, no one brings technology to the table. No texting at the table (unless it’s mom and if I have a grand kid emergency, then that’s different 😉 ). Sitting across from someone and actually talking to them instead of texting to them, has really become “weird”. What I used to think was “weird” now has become the norm. Four years ago (November 10, 2010) GALLUP published a poll that showed that young people under 29 years of age 68% used texting as a form of communication instead of a phone call. The same poll showed that majority of the people under 50 years old preferred texting as their main communication form. Landlines are now a thing of the past. These behaviors have shown to add strain to all relationships. Parents and kids will text to each other instead of talking face to face. By doing this, missing out on heartfelt connections thru body language and feelings.
Pros and Cons of Social Media
Cyber bullying has become the modern plague. So many children and youth are victims to this awful behavior. I remember being bullied at school, along with my twin sister. We looked a little different, our hair wasn’t the right color. We ate different food (anyone remembers “My Greek Fat Weeding?). But when we got home from school or the play ground, we felt safe. No one kept picking on us. That is not how things work today. According to Cyberbullying Research Center, cyber bullying has increased by 50% over the last decade. This makes me so sad. I think we all know or heard of someone being a victim to this awful behavior. From my perspective, this is one of the reasons our children cannot even feel safe in their own homes. Social media has changed our social interaction with others the most. The more we get connected with people, the less we feel connected. I have read studies conducted on how there has been an increase in depression among all age groups because of how our expectations have changed. Of course social media has also changed how we do business. Without social media, I would not have the opportunity to encourage my readers to share my blog 😉 . Without social media, we would have harder time connecting with our customers and friends who live across the continent. I love staying connected to my friends and family across the globe.
I feel bad for our two teenage boys sometimes. It is not easy being raised by parents that are not only little older than their peers parents, but we are grandparents as well. When we speak to them about our childhood memories, sometimes I realize we really sounds like we lived during the dinosaur era. The interesting thing is, that Robert and I are not very old, but technology makes us feel old. When our older kids had school stuff like registration, or we had to buy something thru the school such as lunches, it was so easy. Now everything is online and you need something “smart”in your hand to do anything. Have to admit, now that I am starting to get the hang of it all, it is very convenient. Our grand kids who are not very old, frequently have to help me and papa how to turn on tablets, and pads and I this and I that. Then there is the “Smart TV”. That thing has made me swear more than anything else. All I want is to sit down after a long day and watch a Hallmark movie. Why does it take me ten minutes to figure out how? Probably because somebody got on there and changed the “input” and suddenly I might as well go to bed than try to understand every single setting.
Can’t Live Without It
But it is not all bad. Technology has also brought much growth and development in our lives. Take for instance knowledge. I don’t miss the days researching a subject in heavy old books. Doing homework used to be a nightmare, especially if it was having to do any research . Today, it is a click of a button and the words of the greatest minds are right there in front of us. Knowledge is in our fingertips. All our children are more learned and have opportunities we never dreamed of. I have tried to go a day without technology, and that is really hard. I frequently ask myself “what did I do before the smart phone, computer, tablets, social media and google era? It is amazing what one small smart phone can do. My husband and I run a local small business. We have come to enjoy and appreciate some of the advancements made in technology. But we also see potential risks that can come with it. According to a study done by Pew Research Center back in 2014, 67% of Americans felt that technology and science had a positive impact in their lives. I think most of us agree that there are two sides to each coin.
Friend or an Enemy
Some may argue that technology can be either a good friend or an enemy. From my perspective (and my computer almost made me loose it last night at 2 am), technology advancements have brought too much good with it, for me to feel like it is an enemy. While at the same time, I am still very intimidated by all the gadgets around me and the constant progress, which prevents me from feeling like it is my friend. I believe we all know and see on daily basis, the positive impact modern technology has had around and for us. Human lives are being extended, education has become more accessible to everyone, easier to maintain distant relationships thru Face-time and all kinds of apps. I have first hand seen in my husband’s family, how people with disabilities can continue working and taking care of themselves in their every day lives. Whereas only two three decades ago some of these advancement would have seemed like modern day miracles.
As I sit back for a second, and try to put things in perspective, I realize that although having perfect knowledge and understanding is probably impossible, but what is possible, is my willingness to learn and embrace. I cannot change others, nor can I stop progress. What I can do is control my own patterns and behaviors. I can choose to use technology only for that which is good. Use it as a great tool to simplify my life and help others. At the end of the day, modern technology will always be the one relationship that I have, that I can’t decide if I love it or hate it. I guess I do both, depending the time of day you ask.