There’s no doubt that we are in a new digital age, from the Internet, to computers, to the Blackberry, times have changed tremendously in regards to how far we’ve come with electronics and technology, but is it possible for us to take things a little too far and get tangled up in this World Wide Web?
When people first spoke of the digital divide years ago, it referred to the gap that existed between people who had access to digital technology and computers and those who had little to no access, but now, when I think of the digital divide, I think of how the majority of communication happens through the computer or texting, I think of how asking “are you on Facebook?” is as common as asking someone’s name or where they work.
I think of lost friendships through misinterpreted emails and because the tone of a text message was misconstrued. I think of questioning your man’s intentions and what he’s doing on social networking sites. I think of face-to-face interaction being diminished.
I’ve heard people say “the Internet makes the world smaller” but I’m not even sure if I want the world to be smaller, I kinda like my world big and unexplored just the way it is.
I do enjoy technology, I just feel that it can get out of hand at times and in the end we need to ask ourselves are we cultivating our relationships in real life? Are we wasting time online? I know myself, as soon as I turn on my computer, I can become so sidetracked. I’ll go online just to check business related emails and before I know it I’m shopping, checking out 30 different blogs, chatting online and then three hours are gone down the drain. I’ve even gotten to the point where I had to tell myself, once I shut the computer down, I can’t turn it back on until tomorrow, and I know I’m not alone. It makes me lazy, makes my eyes hurt and makes me feel at times that I need to get back to what’s important to me.
I think we underestimate how easy it truly is to become addicted to things. The word addiction doesn’t just refer to drugs and alcohol anymore, there is a new emergence of studies showing people who are addicted to the Internet. Count how many times a day you look at your phone, Blackberry, social network accounts and you might realize you are doing it a bit much. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being in touch with people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, your mind can feel a bit overwhelmed at times if you don’t give it a break.
I think back to a time when none of these means of communication existed and I wonder if relationships were more meaningful. I miss the times of being out at dinner with friends and everyone is talking and engaged and not answering emails from the table. I miss going to the movies and not having to see the person next to me with their phone open while they send a three-page text message. This might sound unrealistic, but I even miss walking down the street without people bumping into me because they are so engrossed in their phones.
It’s time to pick up that book we’ve been meaning to read for the past four months, get our friend’s addresses and send actual birthday cards in the mail and not just an E-Card or Evite. Listen to the radio, go for walks and let our brains think about things outside of seeing what everyone is saying on Twitter, call our friends instead of texting them.
How would you cope if your computer and phone were taken away? I challenge you (and myself) to log off, shut down, clear your mental browser and see how you feel after taking your mini tech vacation.