The Not-So-Evils of Technology

Image Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_middlebrow/2006/02/can_you_fear_me_now.html
Image Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_middlebrow/2006/02/can_you_fear_me_now.html

Technology is evil. It rots our brains, makes us less social, and leads to shorter attention spans. People never go out anymore; they spend all of their time on the internet. People don’t talk to each other; they text. People need to unplug and focus more on making genuine human connections.

All of that is a bunch of bull, and here’s why.

Technology, like anything else, is a tool. It’s not evil, it’s not rotting our brains, and it’s not leading to the breakdown of society. In fact, in many ways simple things like texting, Twitter, television, and so on can actually make your life better.

I hear so many people complain about technology, yet like many types of complaints, they never actually think things through. Here’s a few examples:

Spending too much time on Twitter makes you anti-social

This is a bunch of baloney. A lot of the time, it comes from parents who think their children are ignoring the family because they spend so much time online. Yet the simple truth is, kids didn’t want to spend times with their families long before the internet was invented. If kids wanted to sit at home all day spending time with their boring parents and their pain-in-the-ass siblings, they wouldn’t sneak out of the house to hang out with friends, or lock themselves in their rooms playing loud music, or doing any of the millions of other things kids do when they want to be left alone. The difference with a website like Twitter is that it allows you to actually make friends and interact with people in a safe, controlled way. You can pick and choose the people you interact with, block the ones who bother you, and keep up to date on current events or live-tweet community experiences like the season premier of your favorite show. It’s a way for people to have fun and be social, just without having to limit your social group to people who are geographically close to you.

Kids text too much and don’t develop communication skills

People of any age can be shy. Communication is hard, especially for someone who is unpopular, awkward, or has low self-esteem. But a lot of the time it can be easier to get to know someone one text at a time. You can take your time, develop your thoughts, and make sure you aren’t inhibited by your shyness. Plus, texting can actually be more efficient in some ways. It’s much easier to, say, read a book or do some homework while you’re texting someone than while you’re on the phone with them. Being on the phone generally requires your full attention, whereas texts can be sent whenever you have a break in what you’re doing. The asynchronous nature of texting can make it a more powerful form of communication in many ways.

The internet is just for silly cat pictures and porn

Sometimes people go overboard with pictures. It can seem excessive at times, making you wonder why people need to share eight million pictures of their dog, their coffee, and their feet. But on the other hand, pictures can be used to communicate quite a bit. Memes in particular have become a fascinating form of communication. For example, when one of my writer friends is slacking, I’m likely enough to send them an encouraging photo. When they tell a corny joke, I’ll play a rimshot. Or when they’re having a bad day, I might send them a sweet e-card.

And then there’s some things you just can’t say with words.

Internet time should be limited

Because naturally, it’s about quantity over quality. To some people, it doesn’t matter if you’re using the internet for education, social interaction, creative pursuits, and other wholesome activities. They still see it as something you can have “too much of.” But I say, there’s nothing wrong with being on the internet for hours on end if you’re using it the right way. Five hours straight on a silly cat picture Tumblr page? Okay, that’s too much. But if you spent the same length of time reading educational materials, talking to friends, doing research, and playing classical music videos on YouTube, would that be such a bad thing?

All people do online is complain

That’s ridiculous. Who spends all their time online complaining about other people? It’s not like anyone would read an entire blog post that was just a long angry rant…

Tee hee.


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6 thoughts on “The Not-So-Evils of Technology”

  1. Clearly, this is just further proof that the Internet isn’t just evil, but brainwashes people into thinking it’s not! I don’t blame you, Jason- you’re a victim, after all! *laughs*

    More seriously, I completely agree with what you’ve written here. It’s funny, but my brother and I were at a restaurant today, and in the middle of the chat, we had a dispute about something. So, cue us whipping out our smartphones and quickly checking things. If someone walked in on us, we’d look like we were studiously not talking to each other, a perfect Sign of the Times. I start to wonder how much of that is fueling the frequent shirt-tearing over the ‘net and especially smartphones, seeing just snippets of interactions and assuming that’s the norm.

    I do definitely agree, too, on the fact that kids have always wanted to get away from their families. In my case, part of it is a release valve, too. A lot of family just… honestly doesn’t understand or care what I’m doing, and tends not to be that open to me talking about it. As for what they’re doing… it’s fairly repetitive. So we get caught in a loop for conversations, and me checking my phone gives me an opportunity to take a break and get back into it with a renewed amount of energy. Ironically, then, the phone gives me greater social mobility, not less, which many people don’t recognize because- in my mind, anyway- they don’t want to admit that the problem might be with them, not with the evil technology. I mean, when the conversations are interesting and they’re with the people they like, I don’t see the youngins whipping out their phones quite so often.

    I dunno, I think that’s really the major part of it. It’s so much easier to blame “The Internet” than any person involved with it. And to take a few case experiences and extrapolate that. Does get tiresome after awhile, sadly.

    1. Being able to look up information on the spot is another great point. Some people complain about people using cell phones or laptops in classrooms, but on the other hand, I frequently have teachers ask us to Google something in order to settle some point or another. It’s extremely convenient and actually helps the class.

      I could also go into the studies I’ve read that show that you can develop just as strong of a friendship online as you can in person. It just takes longer for it to develop.

  2. You make a lot of good points, Jason, and I agree. It’s not the internet that’s evil. It’s all in how one uses the tool, like so many other tools we can mention: chainsaw, automobiles, and beer. Thanks for sharing your perspective in this entertaining post.

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