This debate was very difficult for me to pick a side I agree with. As a physical education teacher I often find myself telling my students to unplug, go play, enjoy nature and limit technology use. However, I am a self-declared hypocrite because I will often be outside playing with my son with my phone in hand or phone close by. I am the first to admit I am guilty of becoming too dependent on technology. I am the kind of person that drives home to get my phone if I forget it. However, on the flip side I think that if I got accustomed to not always having my phone on hand, I might actually be able to relax, enjoy and soak in the special memories with my family.
The agree group made some valid points; I found I could relate to some points more than others. One example they discussed was going out for dinner with friends. The purpose is to go out with friends and socialize with one another and yet there are times where there is no conversation happening because they are attentive to their phones rather than their friends. Our phones have become a distraction in many instances and it is up to us to minimize these distractions and limit our technology use to the appropriate times and places. I have experienced trying to have a conversation with someone when they are distracted by their phone, the feeling of loneliness and unimportance of what I have to say to them leaves me feeling secondary to their phone conversation. I have made a conscious effort and commitment to keep my phone put away when having face to face interactions with family and friends. I do keep the ringer on in case of emergency; however, I am making a decision and taking the effort to value the importance of these relationships and refraining from using technology.
It is quite interesting that this group discussed that we have become too reliant on technology and are unable to perform simple tasks without digital knowledge. I actually laughed out loud when they said this. I immediately thought of before our son was born. I remember buying a ton of things that needed to be built and rather than simply reading the instructions to build these items I quickly YouTube “how to build _______” and told my husband how to do it. In reality we should have been able to sit down, read the instructions and build what needed to be built. However, it was much easier and convenient to You Tube and have someone walk us through it step by step. In this situation, we have become too dependent on technology.
The topic of capturing moments via technology rather than capturing them with your own eyes really hit a nerve with me. As a first time parent selfishly I want to capture as many things on my device as I want so I can share milestones, growth etc. with family and friends. Word of mouth doesn’t have the same impact as being able to share those moments with people you truly care about through technology. I am guilty of capturing many things through the use of technology and I can’t really say I have any regrets for doing it. I have said many times, everything is in moderation. Ashley spoke about a lady in front of her at the Garth Brooks concert recording the whole show on her device when in reality she was missing a live show to watch in through the lens of her phone. Capturing a few moments here and there isn’t the problem. I think it is when we are constantly looking through a lens and not living in the moment, in the real world, then it is a problem!
I would like to touch on the fact that technology has become an addiction for some people. Like anything in life, everything needs to be done in moderation. If you are finding yourself addicted to technology, maybe the best thing to do would be to unplug for periods of time or limit your technology use throughout the day. There are many options for people who feel they are too wrapped up in technology. It’s just a matter of making changes and adjustments to your life.
The disagree group had many arguments that were valid and worth taking a look at at as well. They suggested that we do not need to unplug to have balance. We can find balance in our lives with the use of technology, we just need to use it in moderation and incorporate into our lives when necessary. We can achieve balance while plugged in; technology is a tool we use and we don’t necessarily have to unplug to be mindful. The group suggested that our digital and physical worlds are the same therefore it is virtually impossible to unplug. When I think about this statement, I think about kids who go to school in real life, they deal with bullying and then go home and faced with bullying online. There is no escaping as our worlds are combined.
One statement they used that I don’t agree with is ‘who we are online and offline are the same’. The first thing that comes to my mind from this statement is the show “Cat Fish.” Someone can portray themselves to be someone online but in reality they are a completely different person. There are many people who use technology as a tool to enhance/make changes etc. to themselves and their lives. They want to portray themselves as desirable to others. As an educator and a parent, I think it is essential that we let children, adults and others know what they see online is not necessarily what they see in person.
I have said it time and time again and I will continue to do so, EVERYTHING IS IN MODERATION.
Technology can be a great addition to our lives, however, we need to be mindful that it is not the be-all and end-all. We still need to have face to face interactions, build and make friendships in real life and be able to perform simple tasks without the use of technology. I am not saying that we should never use technology but we need to use it in moderation. If you forget your phone at home, is it essential that you turn around to go get it? NO! Try a day unplugged, who knows maybe you will feel relaxed, enjoyable and with a lot less stress.
I would like to thank both groups for presenting great views, opinions and research to support their sides. I really enjoyed the debate but once again I find myself left on the fence on this debate.