Technology & Connectivity: Addiction or Tool?Posted: 18th of November 2015 by
There are plenty of scare stories about how mobile technology is taking over our lives, and there seems to be some truth to the talk. Just take a look around when you are out and about and you will notice how many people are looking at their phones as they walk down the street, take public transport, or sit down in a café. Mobile phones have become a part of our everyday lives to the point that many people could not imagine life without them. There is no doubt that they are a useful tool, but have our mobile phones turned into an addiction?
To understand how we have got to the point where mobile phones have become so ubiquitous it is worth understanding the history of the phone. Go right back and you will see that people had fears in the late 19th and early 20th century when the telephone began to come into use. However, as more telephones began to appear in homes, offices, and on street corners, people quickly got used to the connectivity that the telephone offered.
However, this was taken further with mobile technology, either in the form of a car-phone or mobile phone. When they first hit the market they were unwieldy and expensive (I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of the first mobile phones). Despite their relative bulk, mobile phones were used as a status symbol in the 1980s, as both the handsets and the calls were expensive. These basic phones began to improve, getting smaller and offering things like text messaging. This saw the end of the pager as more and more people began to get mobile phones.
Of course, the technology on mobile devices has moved on massively in just a few years, with the last decade seeing smart phones take over the mobile marketplace. With internet access, video, cameras, social media, music, games, and other functions, using a mobile phone to make calls has become just a small part of what is on offer.
With so much on offer, is it any wonder that we turn to our phones when we are bored or if we want to look something up. But have we crossed the line from users to addicts? Ask yourself, how often do you check your mobile phone? Is it the first thing you do in the morning, or the last thing you do at night? And how long can you wait to check your phone if you get an alert telling you of a text or other message?
If you are honest, you will probably see how dependant you are on your mobile phone. Even our social lives have been changed by the phone, from sitting in groups ignoring each-other in favour of looking at our phones, to the way in which we organise to meet up, the mobile phone has become integral.
But before we panic that we have all been enslaved by our mobile phones, let’s take a step back and look at the positives. From paying for items to staying in touch with our friends and loved ones, the mobile phone is a great tool for modern living. While there are fears that face-to-face communication and being present in the ‘now’ are being eroded by our mobiles, we can’t deny that they are also a great way to stay connected. They allow many people to stay in touch with friends and family – besides, mobile phones look like they are here to stay, and thinking otherwise is pointless.
So, are we all destined to live lives where we are in thrall to our phones?
Not necessarily. The key, it seems is in how we treat the technology. If we can all learn to look up a little more and use our phones as a tool rather than a way of life, then there is no need for concern. In fact, the mobile phone should be celebrated for all of the good things it brings – from connection to access to info, entertainment, and more.
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