Lamenting the Allure of TechnologyAs you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.
~ Buddha

When you sit in a waiting room, you get a glimpse into what other people choose to do as they wait. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked up to see an adolescent male reading a book.

So often the scenario is that one pulls out a smartphone or tablet — children, adolescents, and adults alike. This is not limited to just waiting rooms; I’ve seen it during classroom breaks at college, in restaurants, or simply walking around.

We have seemingly become hardwired to checking our phones. And for some of us, it has become compulsive.

It seems that the transition to constantly checking social networking sites, news apps, game apps, email accounts and text messages has taken place so gradually that most of us have not become aware of it. I myself am guilty of checking almost everything that my phone could possibly offer upon waking up. Most of us do this, and it sets the tone for the entire day.

According to statistics, 58 percent of American cell phone users check their phones at least every hour. I know that some of you might be thinking that isn’t excessive, but isn’t that where the problem lies? We have all been swept away.

Knowledge at our fingertips is unbeatable, useful, and entertaining. But when do we let ourselves just be? Immediate gratification and response from available technology is affecting our attention spans and our ability to be present. With so many sites and search engines leading you from one article or video or picture to the next, it can be hard not to fall down the rabbit hole.

Little information we consume is actually being absorbed. Our minds already jump to the idea of the next source, and we are not allowing our short-term memory to consolidate what we have just processed into our long-term memory storage.

We are beginning to treat the Internet and our avenues of accessing it as an extension of our own brains. Recent studies have shown that people are relying heavily on Internet sources and therefore retaining less information, because they can quickly obtain it whenever necessary.

Our minds are becoming scattered and overwhelmed with information. In an already fast-paced society, we have to work hard at remaining present, relaxed, and aware, when these are things that we should not have to try to do. Trying to relax is a contradictory statement. We should allow ourselves to do so.

The Internet, when used correctly, certainly is a highly useful tool. When reading an article, allow yourself to focus on that article instead of fixating on what you can read after the article, or who you can share/tweet/post that article to. And of course, every now and again, break the surface of the Internet pool to breathe and just be.

 

References

Bloom, A. (2011). How the web affects memory. Harvard Magazine. Retrieved from http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/11/how-the-web-affects-memory

Hughes, R., & Hans, J. D. (2001). Computers, the Internet, and Families: A Review of the Role New Technology Plays in Family Life. Journal of Family Issues, 22(6), 776-790.

 


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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 May 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
DeName, K. (2013). Lamenting the Allure of Technology. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/31/lamenting-the-allure-of-technology/

 

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