Jennifer Lawrence kindly highlighted one of the problems we face as a society – and no, this isn’t another rant about screens destroying the world.
Some people have this idea that using a mobile phone in a public place is a sign of ignorance when, in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to stop promoting the idea that using technology is going to send society into some dystopian universe.
(Over-dependence on the latest gadget is, of course, a bad thing – but that isn’t what this is about.)
How many times have you actually experienced any of these doomsday scenarios that scaremongers insist are commonplace?
You may find the odd friend replies to a text during dinner, but maybe if they spend the entire time catching up with the latest tweets instead of catching up with you, you need to reassess your relationship with your friend. It’s not the end of the world. And if their attention is taken up by work emails and replying to contacts, maybe consider that some things – their livelihood – are just too important to just put aside.
It’s almost as if people can’t see how magical technology can be and how much it has aided our everyday life. From a journalist being able to keep the world updated on an ongoing story right from the heart of it, to families being able to keep in touch with one another when separated by entire continents, technology is making society better, not tearing it apart.
It’s possible to list the advantages of technology for pages and pages and if you think it isn’t aiding your life, maybe you need to reassess who the ignorant one is. If you find yourself damning mobile phones, stop and ask yourself why; what is it about something another person is doing that is having such a negative impact on your life, or society as a whole?
Alright, so we all hate it when there’s someone walking down the street glued to their phone and unable to look up for long enough not to walk into you, but take the phone away and you’ll have people wandering down the street with noses in books or newspapers, or daydreaming about what they’re going to have for dinner.
Technology isn’t the root cause of all these things doomsday prophets are predicting, it’s just another solution to boredom or social need. Take away that solution, and people will find another one. Then the technology condemners will have a new thing to blame for the problems they think they’re experiencing.
There is a dark side to technology, and to ignore that would be stupid. The freedom that the internet and instant messaging gives us is abused by some people: sometimes to specifically hurt another person but sometimes the negative impact isn’t intended, like when people find themselves taking their work home with them, or spending countless hours scrolling and browsing aimlessly rather than doing something of genuine worth.
But again, this isn’t going to go away if every circuit board were to disappear tomorrow night, but simply manifest itself in other ways. If we want to tackle these problems, we need to tackle them specifically rather than screaming that screens are going to kill us all (or tweeting about it using said screen…).
Next time you’re watching the news or reading the paper, stop and think about how the journalist collected the sources. Next time a new product hits the shelf, stop and think about how the developers conducted market research. Next time you’re about to go on a rant about how evil technology is, stop and think about how you use it and what you would do without it. And use it with purpose moving forward, then perhaps the comparison to zombies is one we can finally shake off…