Are we too dependent on technology?

“Your assignment,” I explained to my students, “is to write about whether or not you think we are too dependent on technology.” This was an opinion essay. Are we overly dependent on all the technological gadgets we possess?

“When I was in university,” I said to the class, attempting to paint a scene of antiquity, “all I had to type my essays on was a portable typewriter.” My little typewriter, with its blue case, was nothing fancy. Every mistake I made had to be neatly whited out. If there were too many mistakes, I had to tear the whole sheet of paper out and begin again. Yet, somehow, this faithful machine and I made it through five years of essays and assignments. Sometimes, we sat up all night together, filling the silence with the clack, clack, clacking sound of words travelling from my weary brain to the typewriter’s keys.

And then there was telephone duty. “There were no cell phones, of course,” I told the class. “In my student residence, there were two phones on the floor, in little booths, and we would take turns being on duty. If a call came in, we answered the phone and went and knocked on people’s doors, telling them they had a call.”

No personal  computers, no cell phones. What about musical entertainment?

A radio, record player and collection of LPs.

For those of us of the baby boomer generation, technology has changed with a rapidity we could scarcely have imagined in the heyday  of our youth. My little typewriter is long gone. Probably the telephone booths in my student residence are gone too. So is the record player that poured  out such wonderful music, even though the needle stuck and lines repeated themselves over and over.

Today, I struggle with computer programs, and have a love/hate relationship with technology, but it has me in its grip nonetheless. Every day, I check my facebook, e-mail and text messages, and my cell phone is never far from hand. Word processors are much faster and more efficient than my blue-cased friend, and gathering information easily on search engines holds a seductive appeal.

Are we too dependent on technology? In many ways, we are. If all systems crashed, nothing short of pandemonium would ensue. That said, technology also makes our lives easier, allows us to keep in touch with family and friends, and opens up infinite possibilities for the future.

It appears, too, that even the reluctant can be converted. My husband was only very recently persuaded to get a cell phone. He was adamant that he would never text. But then he learned how. I was with my daughter, Hannah, when she received her first message from her father.

“Dad texts??” she said.

It appears he does.

What is your relationship with technology? Are we too dependent on it? Would we turn the clock back, even if we could? What do you imagine the future holds?


6 thoughts on “Are we too dependent on technology?

  1. I remember late nights with a typewriter too, from my university days. Especially the night I had to finish a paper for a Religious Studies elective, and the “G” key broke. Hard to talk about God with no “G”! … I had a lot of penned-in letters in that paper.

    I love how the current technology lets us keep in touch and meet new people, but it can take over too much of our time if we’re not careful. I think I need an old-fashioned timer!

  2. I can sympathize. It would be very difficult to say the least, to have your “G” key out of commission! Sometimes, I had more stacks of discarded paper than anything else!

    We do have to watch our time on social net networks. Perhaps a timer would help! There are some old fashioned items and techniques which still work very well! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi Ruth Ann: Talk about a scene of antiquity — I was fifteen years old when we got a telephone in our home and seventeen when we got our first black and white TV! Before my parents agreed to bring a TV into the house, I had to practically take an oath on the Bible that I would do my homework before I watched TV. Times sure have changed!
    Having said that, I do believe we are somewhat addicted to technology. Recently my husband and I were seated at a table across from a couple in a restaurant. The man spent his entire time talking on his cell phone. His wife might as well have been invisible.
    I guess, as in most situations, moderation is the answer.
    Keep up with your blog. I look forward to receiving it. Bev

  4. Hi Bev! It must have been a big and thrilling change for your family to get a telephone in your home and a t.v.! Now we can barely survive without cell phones. I agree that we often are way too addicted, especially to cell phones. People find it difficult when they go out to eat with someone, and they spend all their time texting or talking on their phones. I guess we will have to learn cell phone and texting etiquette. Thanks so much for your comments! We actually didn’t get a TV until our oldest child was about 9, just so we would spend more time doing other things. Thanks for your encouragement, Bev, and taking the time to read this!

  5. WEll Ruth Ann – it has been awhile since you posted! You should post more.
    Hope all is well with you. I liked this particular post on technology and yes it has really changed! I remember helping with the church newsletter when I was twelve and we still printed things off on a gestetner! God bless the technology and printers and photocopiers of our day.

    sheila webster

    • Hi Sheila;

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and respond to it. You encouraged me! I was going through all these comments, just about all of which I hadn’t read, because a lot of it tends to be spam, and found yours, a gem in the pile of rocks! Thanks you and may God encourage you in every way. I am not sure how to respond to people I don’t know, when they leave comments. Hard to tell if it is spam or something genuine. God bless!

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