Technology, Ten Things I Hate About You

hateaboutyou-flashWhen it comes to loving technology the difference between Brandon and I is staggering.  Brandon loves it and, if not married to me, would have all things iThings.  On the other hand, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to use less of it just to prove Brandon wrong.  To be fair, Brandon has helped me (begrudgingly) understand how valuable technology can be.  It’s a tool and like any tool can be extremely useful, but can also be abused.  Seeing so many people using technology inappropriately has led me to create this list…

Ten Things That Drive Me Crazy About Technology:

10) It makes things that are not HD, 3D, or wide screen “boring”.  (On Christmas Day we were all watching the Muppet’s Christmas Carol – one of our family traditions.  After the opening credits my dad had already pulled out his iPad to watch YouTube videos, my mom was returning text messages on her iPhone, and Brandon was playing Monopoly with his iPod Touch.)

9) It has come without an instruction manual as to how to use it in a mannerly way.  (Very few people have a true sense of cell phone etiquette.  We all know this because we’ve all been stuck behind people at restaurants, stores, or doctor’s offices answering their phones in the middle of paying, checking out, or talking to the nurse.)

8) It has forced us to learn how to do a million things at once because it can do a million things at once.  (These gadgets that are supposed to help us multitask often just make us feel like we’re wasting time if we’re not doing 10 things at once.  We can’t just watch TV anymore, we have to be checking Facebook, updating our Amazon wish lists, responding to Evites and watching the latest The Office dance.)

7) It has led to having lunches with friends who immediately answer their phones and return text messages all throughout the meal even if they are in the middle of a sentence.

6) It has resulted in 60% of people already texting or in the process of taking out their phones as they exit the church doors after Mass.

5) It has turned my Olivia into a little version of Brandon.  (Whenever she sees her grandmother, she immediately begins rummaging through her purse to play with her iPhone which she already knows how to unlock, find pictures of herself, and scroll through.)

4) It has made Googling any question we have a knee-jerk reaction.  (When I’m discussing something with Brandon and a question comes up that we don’t know the answer to, he immediately has 8 tabs open trying to find the answer.  Sometimes we do need an answer quickly, like what time does the party start. But sometimes it’s just not that important to know Chris Farley was on SNL between 1990-1995.  Knowledge is great but I don’t think we need a constant stream of it 24/7.  There are some facts we just don’t need to know right away, if ever.)

3) It has decreased the amount of news I learn about my family over the phone.  (I learn about my cousins’ engagements or marriages by reading it on my Facebook newsfeed.  It’s amazing the number of times this has happened.)

2) It has created the Chevrolet Cruze with an OnStar application that will read your Facebook newsfeed to you while you are driving.

1) It can be unbelievably dangerous and destructive for kids.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m on Facebook, I have a cell phone, I send text messages, and I have a pretty expansive list of blogs that I read regularly so I don’t want to give the impression that I lead a sort of Amish way of life.  I just think these personal electronic devices have advanced so quickly that we have not had a chance to catch up.  We have not gotten a chance to really consider how “being connected” all the time can affect us and those around us.

Companies are constantly trying to outdo each other – we go from 2G to 3G to 4G.  This phone can take pictures.  This phone can take clearer pictures.  This phone can take clearer pictures and panoramic pictures.  This phone can take clear, panoramic pictures and record a video.  And so on.  As these new things come out, we race to get the latest and greatest.  I think the question needs to be asked:  Why?  Why do I need a 4G phone instead of a 3G?  Why do I need to know that Megan is no longer in a relationship while I’m driving?  Why do I need to be able to access the Internet 24/7?  Why do I need to be able to reach every person I know any second of the day?  Is my life truly better because I have a cell phone that can call, text, search, photo, poke, sing, tweet, update, record, and knit a lovely winter hat?

More than anyone, I think parents are most behind the curve.  This quickly advancing technology is really affecting teenagers because it gives them access to everything at every second of the day.  Parents have not had a chance to realize how dangerous this is in the hands of kids during such formative years.  Now there is sexting, Facebook bullying, bullying through texting, and rampant pornography, to name a few.  Access to all of this, in my opinion, is too tempting for teenagers.  It can be a drug.  When they are apart from their phones they get twitchy, antsy and nervous.  If parents allow their kids to have smartphones, I really believe that parents need to constantly monitor their kids’ text messaging and Internet usage.  Yeah, it might seem a little “Big Brother-ish” but I think it’s completely necessary.  They have to be able to teach their kids what is appropriate and inappropriate.  They have to teach them how important it is to “disconnect” so they can study, sleep, get some fresh air, enjoy dinner with the family, heck, just sit quietly and think about life.  But, if adults are going to teach children the proper use of phones and the Internet, adults need to be able to use it properly as well.

I need to ask myself, do I ever disconnect from the online social networking world?  Am I really missing anything when I am not connected?  Does the cyber world bring me any closer to God?  Do I serve God with any of my actions on my phone or computer?  We have to be honest with ourselves as we answer these questions.  We have to make sure we are in control of these devices and not the other way around.  As brilliant as Steve Jobs is, I don’t want him to be part of every second of every day of my life.  That’s God’s role.

What do you think?  Is this an issue that comes up in your life?  How do you stay in control of the technology in your life?  How do you handle teenagers and technology? At the moment I’m planning on sending my girls to school with a Zach Morris cell phone to avoid any problems.

Ok, thanks for reading.  Now I’m going to post, tweet, text, and email this.