If you’re fully absorbed into the information age, you may wonder how people made it before cell phones, video games, or the Internet. Electronic devices are such a large part of our lives we can’t imagine what it would be like without them. How did people have time to hand write letters? How did they perform research for school projects or find their way around an unfamiliar city?
These days, all the information we think we need is at the touch of a button. But are all these technological advances truly improvements?
Technology has surely made many tasks more efficient and convenient. People can get things done much faster than before, saving valuable time and energy. You no longer have to wait days for a letter to arrive in the mail. Now, even the longest of letters takes only a few seconds to make it across the globe.
With the Internet, you also have 24-hour access to practically any information available, nearly doing away with the need to adhere to library hours.
Technology has also increased your access to constant entertainment, which limits boredom. Remember how long and painful those long rides used to be? Thanks to the DVD player in your family van, hitting the road for 8 or 12 hours is almost painless.
Unfortunately, there is a negative side to all this new technology. It seems some people are developing attention deficit traits. Because technology always offers more information at the point of a mouse, these gadgets have caused people to be easily distracted, impatient, and unable to focus on the task at hand.
When you’re so accustomed to getting information in a matter of seconds, it’s difficult to be patient when things are moving at the speed of life.
The constant flow of information has even become like a drug for some. The excitement and pleasure of communication has led to addictions to texts, social media sites, and email. If you know enough people, you certainly know a few who have an irresistible urge to constantly check their phone or inbox for some sort of information. If you’re one of these people, you realize the great reduction in productivity you suffer because of Facebook and YouTube.
One of the claims of technology is that it improves communication. In many ways it does - but in others, it doesn’t. It may help you keep in better touch with the friends you’re not able to see physically, but what about your family sitting in the same room? It is easy to tune others out and to socially withdraw from those around you if you’re glued to your video game or fancy cell phone.
Kids are especially influenced by technology. Too much of it can limit a child’s imagination, free play, time spent reading and exercising, as well as their ability to communicate face to face with another live human being.
Lastly, electronic gadgets present possible physical harm. The time spent at a computer can lead to neck strain, aches in the forearms and wrists, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Not to mention the dangers of using cell phones or other devices while driving.
Technology is here to stay whether you like it or not. And its presence is only going to grow. So get used to it! Embrace the positives and stay on your guard against the negatives. Remember - electronic devices can and should make life more productive and convenient. You just have to use it the right way. Here is how.
Set limits. If you have trouble staying focused on your task, download a free program that blocks your ability to visit certain sites for a set amount of time.
While you’re working, remove the pop-up alert for new emails. Check your email, phone, or Facebook at set times, like at the top of the hour, instead of every few minutes. Reply only to important messages that require a reply. Each evening, turn off your gadgets an hour or two before bed. This will give you some down, undistracted family time, and will help you sleep better as well.