Our final debate topic focused on whether we have become too dependent on technology and what we really need is to unplug. This topic proved to be interesting to me as I often find it difficult to “unplug” from technology. Technology has become an essential part of my life as I use it to perform many everyday tasks. From paying bills, developing my PLN, and staying in touch with my family and friends, technology has become challenging to disconnect from. As I reflect on this realization, I recognized that I am somewhat addicted to technology. Is this a bad thing? Or now a days, is this normal? I would now like to share an experience which occurred last week. I remember it as if it was just yesterday, it was such a beautiful warm day and I had decided to go buy some flowers that I could plant within a flower pot outside of my home. As I arrived at Dutch Growers, I realized that I did not have my cell phone. I had forgotten it at home and was quite unhappy with my-self but I shrugged it off because it wasn’t the end of the world. As I roamed around looking for flowers, I found my-self constantly searching for my phone and every time I did this, I had to remind my-self that I forgot it at home and it was not misplaced. I had never felt more naked in my life. It was a feeling I did not like. This was when I realized that I have become too attached to my phone and maybe unplugging from it wouldn’t be such an awful idea. However, when I am with my family and friends, I do always try to make an effort to stay off my cell phone, and remain mindfully present.
Both the Agree and Disagree teams shared valuable information concerning this topic and it was very difficult for me to “pick a side”. The agree team discussed how technology can negatively affect our social lives as people can become too focused on their technological devices rather than focusing on real life and the experiences happening around them. By being too reliant on technology, we lack essential emotional needs such as intimacy and vulnerability, all of which we gain from having face to face interaction. As we pay constant attention to our cell phones, we are potentially ruining relationships and risk feeling lonely. Although we may have online relationships established through social media, we need to remember that these friendships do not provide us with the same benefits as establishing face to face relationships. Tinder is an online app which creates a space for physical relationships however it can be risky and dangerous due to not knowing who you are talking to.
The disagree team expressed how it is almost impossible to unplug from technology as we live within an augmented reality and who we are online and offline are the same. Technology connects humans to everything within the world and has been known to improve socialization by offering online communities. There are many online apps that provide assistance with people who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness such as The Worry Box or Mood Tracker. It is important to recognize that technology can help manage your daily life and not everybody has difficulty unplugging from technology. It seems as though society tends to blame technology for many of the physical, mental or emotional health problems which exists today but we need to remember that technology is only a factor and not the end result.
Finally, unplugging from technology may appear to be unnatural to some especially if it is used daily within people’s lives. Whether we like to admit it or not, technology continues to advance and younger generations are being born into a world which is consumed by it. It remains up to us to decide how or what we need to unplug from in order to live a full and happy life. If we are mindful, we can contribute towards breaking the cycle of addictions to technology and establish a healthy balance. It is possible to live in the moment while still using technological tools. As teachers and parents, we need to model moderation and demonstrate that it is possible to unplug every now and then.