The Discoverer

Technology, Blessing or Curse?

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Technology, Blessing or Curse?

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Susana Obando, Discoverer Staff Writer

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Each year, communities break down, people grow older, minorities are recognized, from public to private transport; however, above all else, inequality grows and unity decays. The loss of a common purpose sets humans apart, contributing to the greatest outbreak of all time: the epidemic of loneliness that is sweeping the world. Everywhere I go, there are people on their screens, from elders to children, disconnected from the world around them. Ultrasocial creatures by nature, like us, suffer from many negative consequences–physically and mentally–when we experience isolation. Computers, the internet, social media, and addictive apps are definitely not helping solve this problem. Every day we become more dependent on the double-edged sword that is technology.

More products come out every month–presented to the public as their next best purchase. The need to constantly upgrade your smartphone and television is fueling a greedy and selfish generation of mankind. According to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, “Americans spend only 39 minutes a day in face-to-face conversation but watch nearly three hours of T.V.” This information is disturbing, and only includes America; imagine collecting this data for the whole world. How lost and consumed have we become by our own inventions? The worst part is people are getting comfortable with being alone, accompanied only by their technology. It shouldn’t be that way but is a dangerous addiction we face on a daily basis, and more often than not fail to overcome.

Raised blood pressure, an impaired immune system, and high levels of stress and anxiety are some effects isolation has on our body when we ignore our social nature. As analyzed by George Monbiot, writer of the New Statesman (a cultural magazine in London), “Loneliness enhances the risk of depression, paranoia, addiction, cognitive decline, dementia, heart disease, stroke, viral infection, accidents, and suicide. It is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and can be twice as deadly as obesity.” Generations nowadays are becoming ignorant and mediocre; more technology means fewer skills and efforts are required. They’ve heard the threatening consequences a million times, but their promises to change are vapid. People are incapable of living without devices and, eventually, this will doom us because kids are the world’s future leaders.

For the past decade, childhood has drastically changed from what grown-ups experienced themselves. “Adults say that every past time is better than the present, and I agree. It is better for newer generations to play, interact, and make activities on the streets, rather than looking at a screen all day,” Norberto Villa, Spanish teacher at The Columbus School, said. It is disheartening to recognize a truth many neglect. A palliative solution would be implementing group trips where no technology is allowed, or conferences and activities that highlight the importance of technologic independence. It could help with intrapersonal relationships and establishing healthy habits at workplaces, schools and other interactive spaces. It is clear that technology is a valuable tool, but, unfortunately, society doesn’t know how to utilize it correctly.

However sometimes people have poor social skills, and that is okay, all of us are different. Dan Schawbel, researcher, trend expert, and author of  “Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in Age of Isolation,” addressed the already high difficulty of connecting with others, that is only increased with the barrier of technology. “Witness this tendency: you find people who are plainly making efforts to connect, but who do so by insulting and abusing, alienating the rest of the thread with their evident misanthropy. Perhaps some people really are rugged individualists.” For some people, there is already a boundary when it comes to relationships and communication, and the devices they hide behind only aggravate their isolation. Although this isn’t the truth for everyone, it is a fact that the majority of the population have become digital junkies.

Therefore we have to start somewhere so this unpredictable, siphoning epidemic can disappear. Having a balance between needs and desires is the key. Hopefully, it won’t be too late when society takes action against this problematic.

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