| is our taste for technology waning?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Is Our Taste for Technology Waning?

In the space of only a few decades, the rapid advancement of technology has allowed for a gradual increase of its incorporation into everyday life. It's crazy to think that only ten years ago the classic Nokia "brick" phone, the 3310 was one of the most popular mobiles on the market. Fast-forward to the end of 2015, people rely on one device to do everything for them. We can shop online, apply for jobs and even book a dinner table!

But what impact has this had on our everyday lives? The feeling of being constantly connected to technology, is frankly tiring us all out. We don't give ourselves enough time in the day to switch off, embrace our surroundings and relax. It's because it's so easily at our fingertips, everything has been made simpler and more accessible, so it's now hard not to use technology constantly. Nowadays I can think of few situations where I don't reach for a electronic device to do something. For example, if I don't know what to eat for dinner, I'll google a recipe. When I'm not sure how cold it is, I do not simply walk outside, no, I'll check on a weather app. When I want to look up an unknown word in another language, I crack out the Linguee app, and my poor dictionaries get left in the corner.

Sleeplessness in the UK has become a huge problem for people of all ages, and a key cause is overuse of our devices. I'm especially guilty of getting ready for bed, having a little scroll through my Instagram feed, and suddenly it's half 1 in the morning. The amount of times I've suddenly reaslised I've been staring at my phone for over half an hour, and having achieved nothing productive has become ridiculous. The fact that more and more apps are coming onto the market for mindfulness, relaxation and better sleep shows that people simply cannot switch off. We shouldn't need to time or limit ourselves so forcefully to ensure that we tear our eyes away from a screen for more than 5 minutes, but it is undeniably engrossing.

Another problem is much publicised in terms of our decreasing social skills when in the company of other people. However, I've always found this argument rather unfair, particularly when it's directed towards young people, who are seen as bearing the biggest brunt of the advances in technology. While it's true that perhaps a few years ago me and my friends would sit scrolling sometimes instead of talking to each other, that need to be constantly connected is gradually decreasing, and therefore time spent with friends and family is always much more precious and less technology ridden. Various publications claim that people are unable to socialise and interact with each other properly, which again I think is unfair to wash with the same generalisations.

It seems that the problems most people face currently is how to get away from it, rather than use it more efficiently. Undoubtedly technology has improved our lives and made many things much simpler, but we should not become over-reliant on it. I am slowly trying to take screens out of most of my day, but being a student with most resources online makes this extremely difficult. The fact that so many companies are offering new ways to switch off from it all just proves how far technology has entrenched itself in our daily lives. Going cold-turkey would be simply ridiculous, however making small and concious steps to reduce your exposure to it will go a long way.

How do you switch off from technology? Thanks for reading!


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