The dangers of technology

My family decided to play Family Feud as part of our Christmas celebration. One of the questions was where are the top 5 places kids spend their time at. My parents, aunts, and uncles wanted to say things like movies, roller arena, dance halls because those are the places they grew up hanging out at. But times have changed. The answers for today’s kids is in their rooms, on their phones, as well as school and sports which haven’t changed.

Innovation has always propelled America. However, technology has often moved faster than our chance to predict and protect from negative consequences. Often, we’re left trying to repair and pick up the pieces after the impact of something new has done its damage. In this instance the internet, social media, and smartphones are still greatly hurting our society. The internet is full of inappropriate and dangerous things, especially for children. Social media is full of people either trying to look like their life is perfect or people spewing hate at others with differing opinions. Smartphones keep us distracted and isolated from truly connecting with each other.

The sum negative consequence of social media, smartphones, and the internet is a loss of community. Community obviously is the backbone of society and our nation as a whole. Isolation is not healthy for anyone and it breeds a host of mental illnesses. Recently, in the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in public shootings especially teens in schools. Most of these teens were loners who had online history of violence and disturbed thoughts.

The building block of community is families. Families are not doing so well in America as well. How much technology has to do with that is unclear? But I suspect that the availability of porn and potential alternative partners on the internet does not help. Your phone is very powerful and also very easy to keep things private from partners, more than in any century before now. Marriages also thrive when they have family, friends, and social/spiritual community around to support them. Now that community is breaking down marriages are not supported as well and are failing more often which then affect how well community is doing. There is a circular ecosystem effect.

In conclusion, technology has many benefits for culture, but there are pitfalls we need to think about as well. As we continue in the innovation age we would be wise to think ahead and prepare for potential negative impacts of future inventions/developments. I think in order to help improve community we need to lessen our consumption of technology (TV, internet, phone, social media, etc.) and work to create significant relationships. If we do not do this I fear for our future and the future of our children.

(Originally published in the newspaper The Hespirian Beacon on 12/27/19)

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