It’s easy to see in today’s world when the human race has developed a new addiction. Whether it be a new food, activity, or slang word, almost everyone is willing to get involved in a new trend, and they usually catch on quickly. One addiction in particular that has been developing for quite some time is our addiction to technology. The use of technology has been increasing dramatically, mainly because it’s so broad and there is so much that you can do with it. It can come in the form of mobile devices, computers, robots, and even parts of our body.
Technology has advanced our society so greatly that we almost completely rely on it in our everyday lives. Simply walking outside can show you just how technology is affecting our lives. Kids and adults alike will be hooked on their phones, constantly looking at their screens, or they might be playing some sort of video game; the variety of technology is endless. In her essay “Growing Up Tethered,” Sherry Turkle explains that the young people of today have grown up in a fully tethered life, constantly being connected to each other via social media.
She talks about how kids feel the need to communicate with one another, and if they can’t connect to each other, then they will go out of their way to do so. She explains that young people will risk their own lives to stay connected with their peers by doing things like texting and driving or walking and texting. Turkle explains how some people use technology as an escape from the real world by creating their own virtual lives. Another one of her points is that people can easily lie about who they are on social media, and it’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t.
She concludes her essay by talking about a kid named Brad who has freed himself from technology by simply rather talking to people on the telephone. Although Turkle doesn’t expand much on how the use of technology can be good, she does make good points as to how people are constantly connected to their technological devices. Throughout most of her essay, Turkle is mainly focusing on how technology affects our lives in a negative way. She doesn’t seem to expand very much on how the way that we use technology today can be good.
One point that she does make on the matter is that some people y matter is that some people will use modern technology as a release from the real world. As Turkle put it, “Thus provisioned, you can set about reworking in the virtual aspects of life that may not have gone so well in the real” (Turkle 436) What she means is, there are some aspects of technology such as certain video games that will allow you to basically create a new life. Maybe things aren’t going well in high school; with this kind of technology, it’s possible to create a virtual world where things are going very well.
It can also be a good way for people who are antisocial, or people that can’t get out much, to make friends who also enjoy that kind of virtual life. Social media websites like Facebook or Instagram allow people to connect with others that they haven’t made contact with in a long time. You can connect with old friends, or family that lives somewhere far away. Constantly being connected does have it’s benefits, but there is a point where it has gone too far. Being connected with others around us has become a distraction, it has even put people’s lives at risk.
Some people with go out of their way to see the latest updates on a social media website, or to respond to a text. This includes walking through streets and busy areas without looking where they are going, texting and driving, or just never looking away from their phone or mobile device. A lot of people say that they can multitask, but it really isn’t true, and it’s easy to see that in our everyday lives. It is very difficult to look at a phone and also look where you are walking at the same time. There are constant reports of people who walk out into streets and get hit or hurt ecause they were not paying attention to where they were going. It could also be the driver’s fault too, because many people are willing to text and drive, putting themselves and others at risk. We are just so used to being connected with each other all the time that we can’t help but take our focus off the road and apply our focus to our phones. Driving requires a lot of focus, and if full attention isn’t being applied to the road, it can cause a lot of danger. Our technology can be a big distraction with real life friends and family too.
Kids can be seen at family events not talking to any of their relatives because all that they can focus on is their phones. It’s just so easy to communicate everything on the internet, so some people don’t even bother to communicate in real life. Our addiction to technology can be dangerous in the real world, but it can be just as dangerous online. Turkle had mentioned many times throughout her essay that online profiles can be used to deceive and manipulate people. It’s very easy to go on to a social media website, make an account, and fill it with false information.
This can used to make people believe in false things, and it can even be used for crimes. Turkle explained very well in her essay how having an online wall to hide behind can make people act a different way. Some people want others to believe that they are something that they are not, which makes it hard to trust anything on the internet. Turkle also explained how setting up an online profile can be emotionally stressful, because it’s always an urge to want to make yourself look better than you actually are. Sometimes people get the impression that their life is boring, or not as exciting as someone else’s.
Turkle mentioned in her essay that there are a few people that have given up on social media, and have gone back to the old ways of talking in person. Technology has become such a big part of the lives of today’s children, that some kids will spend most of their days interacting with it, or surviving off of it. There are some people that put other lives in danger with their addiction to their devices, and then there are those that simply will not leave their own homes because of their addiction. It can be easy to feel “lost” without our technological devices because we are so used to having them around.
As Turkle said in her essay, “For young people in all of these circumstances, computers and mobile devices offer communities when families are absent” (Turkle 436). Some have even taken it so far as to prefer their online communities over their own families. This can cause very little communication with one another, and overall an unhealthy family relationship. There are definitely many ways that growing up with social media and technology can be good, but Turkle explained very well in her essay that it has gone too far.
It has clearly gone too far when lives are put at risk, and when people give up on their own real lives. If things do not change, it could lead to things like a lack of communication within households, lives lost, and people physically and emotionally hurt. It might not ever change, because our addiction to social media and technology is merely part of our evolution. We have developed ourselves to a point where we rely on technology and use it in almost every aspect of our daily lives. It’s hard to think of how life would be if we didn’t have the technology that we have today.