Walking through BYU campus gives a great outlook on what is important to students and adults alike. As people pass by, some are talking to each other, some can be found cramming as they make their way to the testing center and others are staring at their phones, tablets, laptops and other smart devices, not paying attention to the outside world.
With all of the new gadgets introduced every day, it is no wonder people of all ages are changing their focus and are now dependent on technology. However, with each new device, the dependence people have on technology can easily affect their social lives, social skills and maybe even their own reality as they choose to live in cyber space.
“It’s crazy how dependent we have all become on our phones, computers and iPads,” said Matt Hintze, a BYU senior studying economics. “People used to be way more active, but now the first thing anyone does when they get home is get online, check their email and check Facebook.”
However, most colleges and schools have made it nearly impossible to get by without a laptop or some sort of computer, since many assignments are now expected to use certain online programs or to be turned in online to save paper and to make organization easier for professors.
“I can’t imagine not having my laptop,” said Ally Morgan, a senior studying political science. “Because so many of my classes require online quizzes or paper submissions, it would be super hard to get through school without a personal computer.”
With all of these things, one would think these tools would help us better connect with people across the world and gain a deeper understanding of other cultures. One would think these technologies would strengthen the bonds between family and friends, since the world has gained a virtual source of instant communication.
Many students have acknowledged the interference caused by the Internet in their daily lives.
“It definitely leads to major distractions,” said Curren Smith, a sophomore studying exercise science. “If I can’t focus on a paper, I know that I can just go online and check Facebook or look at something on Youtube, and that usually can keep me occupied for a good hour or two.”
Bob Affonso stressed in an article for the University of Nevada how heavy Internet users share many characteristics with people who have general addiction disorders. He referenced Maressa Hecht Orzack, director of computer addiction services at McLean Hospital of the Harvard Medical School, who said many “use the computer as a tool to evade, procrastinate and escape, and … among the most vulnerable are children who are lonely and bored or from families where nobody is at home to relate to after school.”
Though the Internet is necessary for many students when it comes to schoolwork, almost everyone who has access to it uses it for some sort of pleasure, whether for video games, social media or online television and movies. Because most people have access to the Internet at all times, many choose it as their main source of entertainment as opposed to going outside and interacting with their peers. It may not quite be an addiction yet, but at the rate people use the Internet on their phones, tablets, laptops, etc., many may go stir crazy if the Internet is not at the edge of their fingertips at all times.
Because there is such a great reliance on these devices, people have been sucked into a different reality than past generations, all taking place online. As a result, social interactions have taken a different focus. Instead of talking about what was done over the weekend, people focus on what was uploaded on Facebook or what new funny video they found on Youtube.
There is no doubt technology has been and will forever play a huge role in society. However, people have the choice as to whether or not it will take over and direct their lives.