Friday, May 8, 2015

The Risks of Using Technology

According to geekofreak.com in 2014, there were 17 billion devices connected or related to the internet and the use of the internet. In the last century, technology has become a vital part of our everyday lives, whether it be the invention of the smart phone or the first man on the moon. Technology surrounds us all the time even though sometimes we fail to notice how it affects our lives in such a huge way. Our digital lives are engulfed by the internet. If technology continues to grow very rapidly, we will have little to no recollection of our past. If people realize that their life does not have to be centered around digital devices, then they can learn to appreciate life for the little things. Technology should be reduced in our lives.

Technology should be reduced in our lives because some people are too attached to their technology and it is affecting their social lives. This phenomenon was exposed when a school in San Francisco attempted a difficult challenge, to disconnect from technology for 3 days. They had to put away all technology and store it away. The whole school participated in it, including teachers and some parents, to raise awareness of how influential technology is in the lives of the school. Unlike most schools, they had an iPad program where every student had an iPad for their school work instead of textbooks, so this seemed particularly difficult to do. The results for this experiment were varied and interesting. Some students were so attached to their digital devices that they could not complete the challenge. It created anxiety because they felt they were missing out on something. Another student said that it gave him an opportunity to have a nice conversation with his parent when he needed help with homework. Normally he would have just looked up the answer, but because of the challenge he turned to his parent. One student said, "I usually take a really long time doing homework and that’s because I get sidetracked with technology and my phone." This a reason why technology negatively affects our lives because it shows how different our lives could be if we just took a second to set down our devices, looked up, had a normal face to face conversation, as opposed to texting or calling someone digitally.
Screen Shot from EWG

The Environmental Working Group says that it's not just your phone by itself that sends off radiation exposure, but its the technology in the phone cases that helps send off more radiation. Some phone cases are so poorly made that they intensify the radiation. According to Pong Research Corporation these
cases block the antenna making it work harder for a signal which then realizes more radiation. The chart above shows the amount of SAR watts sent off with no case versus with a case. SAR watts is the amount of energy absorbed by a human. The amount of SAR watts is higher with a case, with a 70% increase compared to no case.      
Another reason technology is negative in our lives is because if you store your life online then “you gamble with your memories.” One downside to this is that our daily lives are captured in digital form. Not many people keep physical records anymore. Not many people handwrite letters or print out photos as much as they used to. In the year 2500, if you were to visit a museum about the year 2015 there will not be much to look at because most of the data will not be saved because it will either be damaged or deleted. It is hard to keep technology updated all the time. It would be hard to run a floppy disk or VHS tape today even though it's only been around 20 years. Google Vice President Vint Cerf says that this is the “lost century”. One big negative is that our data is not always saved in one concrete thing, it is often saved to a cloud and can be accessed by a private company. We are nonchalantly putting our data into a big “black hole.’”

People disagree with the fact that technology is negative in our lives because the use of technology is innovative, efficient and easier. It is true that technology can make our lives easier. Email was the one first ways companies changed their way to communicate. Email is faster and takes up less paper than writing letters. They allow you to let a lot of information to many people without calling a meeting. The down sides to this are that poorly written emails can create confusion and frustration. Also writing emails take away from other projects that you could be working on.

Overall, the effects of technology on our lives is negative. We know this because when we get our technology, such as phones, tablets and computers, taken away from us we have a hard time coping with it. We need to look up every once in a while and communicate instead of being isolated within a different world. To add on we also cannot trust the places we store our data to to keep it safe. It may be damaged, lost or stolen if we are not careful. Sometimes we take for granted how lucky we are to have the technology that we have, but do not realize how much we actually use technology and how much it surrounds us. Our life does not have to revolve around technology if we just take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Bibliography

Conclusion-Updated 28 May 2015

This was a very hard topic to tackle. Right from the beginning I had to choose a side. It was either I thought technology was a positive thing or a negative thing. I could not choose to be on the fence. I had to take a stance and defend it. I choose to say the technology was overall negative and that it should be reduced in our lives. As I started my research, it was fairly easy to find sources that were clearly against technology. Further in my research I found it harder to find sources that supported my argument. I think the reason for this is because overall there are more positives to technology than negatives but those few negatives are so strong that they outweigh the positives. It’s like if you were to put a rock and one hundred feathers on a scale. There are more feathers than rocks but the rock still outweighs the feathers. Our class throughout the trimester has talked about some bad things that have happened specifically because of the internet and technology. I believe there is a direct correlation between the amount of people who are uneducated about proper use of the internet and social media and the amount of issues that frequently show up. There were some comments that did change my mind a little. One person said that they used Facebook to reconnect with their old friends from highschool. They also mentioned that they enjoyed facetiming their family members. This got me thinking. I never really took this into consideration that technology is a good way to interact with the friends and family that you do not get the chance to see very often. If you want to reconnect with an old friend or old teacher, technology is a good way to do so. If I was to rewrite this essay I would add in this argument that was brought to my eyes. Another point brought up in the comments was that technology has helped make things faster and more efficient. It allows things to calculate and process faster. I think this is also very important because technology has helped us understand disease and medicine better, which helps us live longer. To wrap up what I am saying is that technology in our lives can either be a bad thing or a good thing. You can have a good argument for both sides of the debate. When it comes down to it, at the end of the day you can either make technology a bad thing or good thing. It all comes down to you and your actions.

8 comments:

  1. Very interesting that iPhone cases intensify radiation. A friend of mine has been telling me for years that cell phones are bad for you. I was always skeptical, but I have to admit that some of the recent information about microwave radiation has me thinking (see this article in Mother Jones).

    Even more important are the personal connections that are lost because we're staring at our tiny little screens and not talking to each other. On the other hand, I've been out of high school for some decades now and I've really enjoyed reconnecting with high school friends via Facebook. Not to mention that I enjoy seeing and talking to my sister Jane Riches via Facetime!

    I think it's very interesting to think of what will be around in 2500 CE. It's really weird to think we still can read papyrus scrolls that are 4000 years old, but digital media has a much shorter half-life. Are there any floppy disks lying around your house? Even if you have them, do you have a working floppy drive? And if you have the working floppy drive, do you have the driver software that makes it possible to hook it up to your computer?

    That's one reason I love a real paper book I can hold in my hand.

    And I like getting real, paper birthday cards from Ms. Riches via the USPS. ;-)

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    1. Hello Shelley, Thank you for the cool article recommendation. It was also very interesting to me that iPhone cases can increase radiation. I had heard this fact earlier in the year but had a hard time wrapping my head around it, so it was very interesting to research a topic like that in depth and find out new information. You make a very good point in saying that technology can help you to reconnect with your friends from high school or let you FaceTime your sister. I do agree with you on this point. Thank you for bringing it up. I think it would have been a great opposing argument to my blog.

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  2. Hi there Prad Bitt! I really enjoy all the facts that you have in all your paragraphs! It made me understand exactly what you were saying and really made this blog post! I totally agree with you that now that we have technology, a lot is at risk, like social life and health. I found an article that talks about exactly what is at risk that I think you might enjoy interesting article

    I have to admit I use way to much technology and I am always on my phone. Now that I have read this article, I'm not so sure I want to be on my phone very much anymore! Thank you so much for spending an enormous amount of time on this article! It made me, and hopefully a lot of people aware. Great Job!

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    1. Hello Gabi, thank you for the wonderful article recommendation. I'm very glad you enjoyed my blog! I am even more glad that you got something out of it, and that you became more aware on this topic. It's nice to hear that you became more careful of how much you use technology. It is something that I think everyone should know.

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  3. Hey Prad! Nice post about the problems with the world and the usage of technology. I really found your points about the radiation interesting because I had never thought about phones of having effects like that on us. I do not agree with your view because I think the world would not be the same without technology, and I really do not feel like I justify me point of view so I found this video about it. Thanks for a cool post! Best regards!
    -EPICHippos77

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    1. Hello EPICHippos77, thank you for commenting on my blog. I'm happy that you learned something new when you read this. The facts about radiation are very interesting. I do agree that the world would be different without technology, but my point is not to take away all technology in the world, that would be very bad. My main point is that we do not have to make it the main attraction in our lives. If each person makes an effort to reduce just a little technology in their lives it could go a long way.

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  4. Hi Prad! I like your facts about the downside of technologies, people are seldom unaware of them. However, in my opinion, technologies' benefit are much greater than the downsides of them. Technologies like phones, tablets, computers help us do things that we cannot do by our own hands:Calculating, faster input speed, sending messages in a blink of eye, storage of contents like CDs, USB flash drives or even online data clouds, etc. Even though it is hard to keep our data safe and in good condition, most of CDs can live 100 to 200 years or more when preserved well, in my point of view, compared to papers-a technology that has been invented thousands years ago, CDs, a new technology, do a pretty good job. About health damage that we get from technologies, here is an interesting article about damage of radiation we get from phones. They are often portrayed too dangerous. Anyway, I still like your post about other interesting facts about technologies and researches though. Best regards!-Jasper Xin

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    1. Hello JX, thank you very much for commenting. You made some very good points. This is a very controversial topic. There are very many pros and cons to this argument. Overall I still think the negatives over rule the positives. A key word to think about is "balance". As we make the transition from paper to screens I still think we have to have a balance of living. I would say that it is okay to use technology for the important stuff like medicine and health but it doesn't hurt to handwrite an essay or letter every once in a while.

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