BY MELODIE LARIVIERE
It’s rare these days to see someone without some kind of electronic device. Technology has become part of everyday life. I got my first cellphone when I was in Grade 7 and I only have four contacts, my family. I also only got a Palm and one of the first models, so it sucked. In school we used overhead projectors and had those huge Macs instead of the nice thin models we have today.
I’ve seen technology go from 0 to 100. When I look back, it’s like there was a time when it wasn’t there, then all of a sudden it was everywhere. It’s helpful, of course, but it’s addicting. Laptops and computers allow us to see what’s new on our social media accounts. We can do so at any time, any day. You no longer have to wait to talk to your friends face to face. You can do it at the tip of your fingers. Why would you want to put that down?
According to The Statistics Portal, a website that compiles statistics and studies from more than 18,000 sources, by 2019 the global number of mobile phone users will pass five billion. There were 4.43 billion phone users registered in 2015. The world has around 7.4 billion people in it, with more than half having a cellphone. Reliance on cellphones has gotten so bad that people have begun having panic attacks when their phones die. The Internet has given it the name “Nomophobia.” No-mobile-phone-bia is where it came from. Psychiatrists have confirmed it is indeed a phobia.
Every summer my mom’s side of the family get together in Guelph for a family picnic. This year we were the first to arrive. We set up the tables and chairs and placed the food we brought on the tables. The park was pretty full like it usually is that time of year. There were family and group gatherings all over.
We were sitting and conversing, having put our devices away. We then saw a family of five walking in a vertical line on the sidewalk, no one looking where they were going, all on their phones. A few people passed by, then a couple, both on their phones. No one was paying attention to anyone else.
At school I see the same thing – students with their eyes glued to their phones or tablets. Driving home these days I hardly see kids playing outside. I live in a small country town, where there’s not a lot of traffic on the residential roads. There’s a group of kids who play on my street but that’s the only kids I’ve seen around. Parks have lost their popularity. Instead of playing board games they are now playing those same games in virtual reality, detaching them from this reality.
We give technology too much credit for our own intelligence. We use it too freely because it’s right there at our fingertips. Elbert Hubbard, an American writer, once said, “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of an extraordinary man.”