Lately, I have become acutely aware of the time I have been spending online, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Social media is dominating my time! I’m always on the computer – twelve hours a day in front of a screen at work, and then I go home and look at another! If it’s not the TV, it’s the computer. Between work and home, if I’m having withdrawal symptoms, I have the ever so handy mobile phone as my trusted companion. I’m surrounded by an abundance of technology, quite frankly more than I know what to do with. Smart TV, tablet, laptop, mobile phone - the list goes on. I don’t know how to use it all; I rarely read the instructions until something breaks.
Did you know, on average we check our mobile phones over 100 times a day! How many times have you gone out with a friend and they are constantly checking their phone? Or it might be you checking your phone every five minutes, answering a WhatsApp, reading an email, snapping a selfie! It distracts you from being in the present moment, enjoying time with your companion.
Technology is a wonderful tool, enabling us to do things we couldn’t twenty years ago. Whilst mobile phones, tablets and laptops have their place, I wonder if they are sometimes more of a hindrance than help.
They have a negative impact on social skills. Studies show that those who spend more time using social media have greater trouble communicating and socialising with others, as well as it affecting their self-esteem.
We no longer need to meet friends in person; Facetime and Skype have seen to that. We no longer write letters, it’s all about email. We don’t even send text messages anymore, instead you can stalk people on WhatsApp! Books and CDs are becoming obsolete; we access it all via our handheld devices. Even the need to go to the bank has diminished; now you can do everything online. Anything you could possibly desire can be delivered right to your door with the click of a button. Do you see where I’m going with this? The possibilities are truly endless!
It’s all about convenience; it’s driving this technology revolution forward in a way the world has never experienced. Virtual reality is becoming increasingly real.
How do you use language?
Speaking for myself here, I think using electronics on a regular basis has made me lazy! I text more than I talk and I’m a bad texter at that! My point is I often find myself using ‘text talk’ in situations when I shouldn’t - I have just become accustomed to writing that way. For example, I could be writing an email at work and before I’ve realised, I may write U instead of YOU! Or URS instead of YOURS. It’s unprofessional and sloppy, and I slap myself on the wrists. This is becoming a common problem, especially amongst young people.
We as adults set the example for our children and young people. They model what they see, and they always want to grow up so fast. If we are constantly online or attached to our phones, guess what happens? I understand that it is challenging to keep control of these things. We are living in a time where technology dominates our everyday lives. Our children are becoming increasingly addicted to electronic devices and less inclined to choose more social and physical activities.
I am passionate about young people. I think we have a big impact on them. We can plant a seed that grows to flourish. We can help them to make a real difference in the world. So, we must set an example; encourage them to do better because we know better!
Last summer, I had the opportunity to do some coaching with some young people; it was one of the scariest things I have ever done! Walking into a room of 14-16 years olds was painful. But, helping them gain softs skills that will enable them to function well when they leave school was one of the most rewarding things I have done. When I met them, they already had their way of being and were very resistant to change. I realised that technology along with peer pressure had an impact on their interpersonal skills and overall growth. They don’t always know how to interact with others, because they interact with their devices more times a day than they do people. This is so sad! The program helped re-introduce them to social activities and got them interacting more with others outside their normal peer groups and I saw a huge difference in them.
The elderly and technology
I recent got my lovely Nana a new phone. I tried to opt for the Doro phone. It has large buttons, making it easier for her to see them, but no, she didn’t want it.. She wants one like mine with a touch screen and camera!
So, off we went to EE. She chose one recommended by the shop assistant who said ‘Oh, don’t worry it easy to use’. I looked at him and said, ‘You’re not the one who has to teach her!’. He laughed because he knew what I meant. Trying to teach her how to use it has been a challenge. My patience has been tested. Lol.
Us ‘millennials’ have grown up in an era where technology is very much part everyday life – we often take it for granted. In my nana’s day, it was not. For her it doesn’t make sense. While it’s frustrating for me, I must be patient and understand that the concept of some things will take time for her to absorb. She doesn’t understand the concept of the internet in general. She thinks the computer is the internet and does not understand that you can access it from multiple devices. For me that seems simple, pretty much a common-sense thing. But for the older generation it isn’t. It does worry me, that the pace of change means that older people may become more isolated. How will they adapt in a world where they must talk to a device instead of an actual human?
To be continued in Part 2 - I talk more about the affects that continued usage has on our health and simple steps we can take to reduce the risk to our health