In the past two decades, technology has advanced and changed the manner in which people relate within family ties and social groups. Research suggests that in the 1990s, mails and letters were the most used channels for long distance communication and the postal services were very essential in fulfilling this duty. At the moment, communication has evolved from the use of land lines fixed in peoples’ homes to mobile phones carried everywhere to facilitate easy and quick communication. In this paper, the new possibilities unlocked by modern technology are examined and analyzed in an argumentative manner with close reference paid to mobile phones and communication.
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The mobile phone is a very interesting device that among all emerging trends in technology has captured the greatest number of audience with a great percentage of people owning one in reference to Elliott et al (25). The services offered by the mobile phone are so diverse from making of voice and video calls, sending text messages, to accessing social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and also taking pictures among many other functions. The rate at which this device has been embraced by consumers of all age has brought a controversial debate on its impacts and whether people are over relying on it.
The debate majorly lies on the question of whether mobile phones have taken over real human interaction and changed the manner in which people relate. A person with a mobile handset can reach anyone they want to, despite of the geographical distance between them in an instant based on Elliot et al (85). Today, text messages and the WhatsApp application have revolutionized communication by enabling people to chat and send each other pictures and videos with a lot of ease.
The current generation enjoys all these services availed by the modern technology and have a different experience from their parents and guardians who grew up in a different era. Take for instance, the manner in which people in the 1900s depended on newspapers for daily updates and every morning crowds of people could be seen grasping to get a copy. A hundred years later in the 2000s, the difference is notable as one can easily witness a mobile phone in every person’s hand at any time of the day, performing different tasks with their device. In this controversial topic, there are two kinds of groups, those who would condemn the embracing of mobile phones and label them as an obsession while others label it as a necessity and defend its presence. In my opinion, the mobile phone is being misused and overused.
The percentage of people owning a mobile phone in the United States is approximated to be at 70% of the entire population with the rates continuously increasing in each year. The major users of these devices range in between the age of 16 years and 30 years while those above this age bracket having a lowered dependency on their phones despite owning one. The major functions performed using the mobile phones by this dominant group include; WhatsApp chatting, taking of pictures, listening to music, playing games and accessing social media sites in the internet. According to research, individuals in the mentioned age group spend more than 50% of their time on the phone, and their subconscious mind is fixed on the functions they could be doing on their phones 75% of the time.
It is practically impossible to separate some individuals from their mobile phones even at family gatherings and during outdoor activities as they remain engrossed in their handsets. This is the kind of attachment associated with the mobile phone as one of the most popular modern technology.
The mobile phone is associated with the most amount of distraction based on psychological research which reveals how people’s brain responds to notifications from the phone. In most cases, people have set a notification sound on their phones which alerts them in case of an incoming message or call. The notification sound takes a minds attention from whichever activity it was performing to first respond to the incoming message or call. The amount of time taken to achieve a similar level of focus by the mind after such distractions from the phone could be significant in conclusion of the ongoing activity and thus such distractions are obstructions to progress.
In the case of human interactions, mobile phones have been constantly viewed as obstructions to how people relate. In the present times, it is common to find people during a face to face conversation frequently checking their mobile phones for communication with people in other parts of the world according to research from Siemens (42). The intrusion of mobile phones in human interaction is to the extent of family set ups where teenagers and kids with mobile phones carry their handset to the table during meals and repeatedly get carried away from the rest of the family.
It is such behaviors that cause parents and their kids to clash during family time as real family conversations cannot be addressed while the phones are at the table. The family bond is ruined and at times, the entire family is engrossed on their phones interacting with distant friends and ignoring family members. The vice in this act is that distant connections are nurtured at the expense of real life relations where family values and bonds should be first in the priority from Turkle (135).
The mobile phone was invented to ease communication and improve people’s relations but it can be said to be doing the exact opposite. The handset created a platform for people to interact, exchange information and more importantly socialize. These functions are in relation to the positive side of using a handset as it was intended to perform. The real life facts on the immediate effect of handsets on people’s relationship suggest that mobile phones are harmful to couples relations. Technology is prevalent to introverted people who find comfort in inanimate interactions rather than personal relations.
The introduction of the social media technology in the mobile handset, therefore, has caused people in the modern world to become antisocial in real life. Interactions are based online and people are more comfortable relating on the Facebook and WhatsApp platforms in comparison to personal face to face relations. The negative impact on dating couples brought by the mobile phone is the stress placed on relationships due to a diversification of attention to the distant population rather than the ones nearby.
The platforms introduced by social media through the mobile phone also ruin relationships by enabling couples to cheat on each other through these avenues. The internet is a hub of all possibilities, dating sites and hook up sites have been established to connect people who may intend to find new lovers online. In this way, couples who intend to cheat are aided in this task by their mobile phones through the internet access. They are also able to hide these connections by erasing any evidence which may exist on their devices or by simply locking their phones with passwords and patterns availed in the handset during the infidelity process.
Modern technology aims to make people’s lives convenient by introducing an easier way of doing things that is less stressful. A shift of attention from the mobile phone and its impacts on human relations suggests that the general incorporation of technology in individual’s lives contributes to a significant percentage of laziness among people. Take a remote control for instance, it is meant to facilitate easy control of technological gadgets from distance and in the process it contributes to laziness. Research indicates that most people with remote controlled gadgets within their houses have less mobility and perform such tasks at the comfort of their seats denying themselves any physical exercise.
At the moment, kids have gadgets within their houses such as play stations which they use to play games after school. These indoor games have denied the kids in the current generation from engaging in outdoor activities and games which are beneficial to their health. The importance of outdoor games has been lost due to technological games which slowly replace the physical aspect of child growth. Playing outside is very healthy to the development of kids according to medical practitioners since it offers children the chance to exercise and also interact with each other. Take for instance, kids engaging in a game of baseball with a neighboring child of the same age, this fosters new friendships and improves their physical health as well as their social skills.
The games played on technological devices are also very addictive and in some instances harmful to the mind. Once a child begins playing the computer games, their minds get engaged with a sense of excitement which makes them to want to play it more. In this attachment, their brains can be harmed by an increased level of anxiety and loss of sleep when they reach this level of attachment.
Technological advancements in the modern day have increased dependency on easy quick fix solutions for every human problem. The easy fix solutions to problems are beneficial to individuals who gain an easy way of performing stubborn functions such as cleaning among many other operations but the general result is negative. Take for instance, an introduction of a machine or robot which performs the task which used to be performed by a human being in the early days. The indirect result is that many people will be laid off in the process of easing a specific task through technological advancements of this kind.
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Modification is a superb inclusion in the modern technological world but too much embracing of technology in every service is detrimental to the jobs of some human beings. When technology is embraced in every sector, it solves some problems as it creates others. The ultimate aim of human beings is to fix their problems and not to transfer them to another field. Technology in this case offers new ventures for human beings to explore while directing them to new challenges as suggested earlier.
Take the practical example of the introduction of plantation harvesting machines within a society that depends on agricultural labor as their main source of employment. The owner of the plantation enjoys a reduced labor cost solving one problem while the people of the society risk losing their jobs due to the introduction of a technological solution to their work place. The level of unemployment in such an area will definitely rise as the machine eliminates the need for physical labor. Technological solutions in such a case will solve one problem and create another one.
Modern technology is creating more harm than good in other areas where their complexity is too high for all humans expected to utilize its services. There is a close difference between the ways in which modern technology should be applied and how human beings without the necessary knowledge apply it. Utilization of chemical fertilizers is an additional modern technology aimed at improving the manner in which people farm and the products grown from the farms. In the process of applying fertilizers, heavy chemicals used in its preparation require an informed procedure of application that will not be harmful to the soil or the crops themselves based on Elimelech and William (712).
The wrong use of these fertilizers is the reason some crops have become extinct while the soils lose their productivity after a period of application. The inability of some farmers to follow the application instructions is responsible for the environmental degradation being experienced. The soil loses its natural fertility and is unable to sustain the growth of crops as it is required. In the long run, continued application of chemical fertilizers could lead to soil poisoning which eventually harms the health of other living organisms such as animals and even human beings.
The climate on the other hand has been on the negative end of technology as pollution from companies with mechanical advancements is a common aspect in the modern world. These machines require a source of fuel to run them and in the process of operation, some produce smokes known to be harmful to the earth’s atmosphere. Mechanization in this essence brings a negative impact to the climate and as humans’ embraces its operations in their daily routines the world climate suffers the most.
It would be wrong to label modern technology as a demon in the current society due to human beings obsession and wrong use of the inventions brought to them. The reliance placed by human beings is the part where vices are created and modern technology produces negative results that were not expected in the start. For instance, the mobile phones inclusion in the modern world can be a very beneficial tool in the society with its capability to connect people even in different localities. The vices of the use of mobile phones appear when people get addicted to their phones and in the long run misuse them losing sight of real life connections in reference to Elliott et al (113).
According to research from Bertot et al (30), addictions are harmful to ones mental and emotional health as signs of anxiety and restlessness appear when people are detached from their items of comfort such as mobile phones. People who are used to carrying their phones everywhere display a sense of stress when they forget them at home and at times compare the feeling to being naked. In terms of couples, this may be due to insecurities of what ones lover might discover in their phones during their absence. The stress associated with the mobile phone in this case becomes negative and this solidifies the argument that modern technology should be limited according to Ayyagari et al (831).
The solution to this kind of dependency on modern technology lies in replacement of the gadgets with other physical activities which can shift ones focus to social events and interactions. The elimination of modern technology in this century is an attempt close to impossible but limitation of time spent on ones devices, and restriction of how people apply mechanization in all their daily routines.
Bertot, John Carlo, Paul T. Jaeger, and Derek Hansen. “The impact of polices on government social media usage: Issues, challenges, and recommendations.” Government information quarterly 29.1 (2012): 30-40.
Elliott, Anthony, and John Urry. Mobile lives. Routledge, 2010.
Siemens, George. “Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.” (2014).
Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011. Print.
Elimelech, Menachem, and William A. Phillip. “The future of seawater desalination: energy, technology, and the environment.” science 333.6043 (2011): 712-717.
Ayyagari, Ramakrishna, Varun Grover, and Russell Purvis. “Technostress: technological antecedents and implications.” MIS quarterly 35.4 (2011): 831-858.
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