In today’s age, technology has become a central aspect of many people’s lives. This new tech has brought with it many benefits that people did not have years ago and has helped bring the world together. With the benefit of cellphones, for example, someone can use them to stay in touch with friends and family while they are away and don’t have access to a phone. This connectivity has become an essential part in today’s society since people can now work anywhere that they want. However, this technology also has downfalls that negatively affect the same person’s life.
The distractions that technology brings can be seen clearly with someone’s work performance since they will likely do poorly on a project. The way that technology affects someone’s life varies within the different part of their life. With the multitude of benefits that technology brings, it is sometimes hard for people to recognize the faults that come with their devices that affects their jobs and grades in school, their family life and their vacations. Matt Richtel’s “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price” helps show how technology, while often beneficial, can hinder a person’s life.
In order to prove this theory, Richtel discusses the case of Mr. Kord Campbell and how he and his family has been negatively affected by their technology usage. Richtel starts by stating that Mr. Campbell almost lost a lot of money because he missed an important email from a company wishing to purchase a startup from him due to the fact that he was distracted by the other devices and websites he was using at the time. This was not the only time that Mr. Campbell’s bad tendencies with technology negatively affected his work.
Due to his bad habit of becoming distracted while on the internet, he also signed his company up for the wrong business plan on Amazon and lost his company a lot of money. This helped to show how the multitasking skill that Mr. Campbell relied on was not as usefull as he believed. It then goes on to say how technology has also been affecting his family, such as how his son’s grades were slipping due to his own technology use. The usage of technology does not only affect their school and work, but also their family life.
Now whenever they have family time, they are all sitting in front of a screen, either playing games or watching television. Due to the fact that technology has impeded upon their family life, when they went on vacation, they could not put down their devices and ruined their vacation. First off, the benefits of technology to the workplace and school are often overshadowed by the downsides. One of the greatest benefits that is provided to school and work is the fact there is almost an infinite amount of sources that are online that can help a person succeed.
If someone is unsure about a topic, they can just look it up on Google and get thousands of websites about the topic. This benefit, however, brings with it a great weakness, distractions. While someone is looking something up, they may get the urge to look something else up that is not relevant to the subject. This will cause them to lose focus and stop working on their project. Matt Richtel stated that “researchers worry that constant digital stimulation … creates attention problems for children” (18). Due to this, they might not do well on it since they kept getting distracted.
According to Richtel, an example of this will be Mr. Campbell’s son, Connor, who “recently received his first C’s, which his family blames on distraction from his gadgets” (13). Becoming distracted with technology may also lead someone to staying up at night on their devices. This will cause the person to be tired and lethargic while they work, which results in poor performances. While the new technology has greatly helped people with their work and school, these are also causing people to have poor performances.
Secondly, technology has the ability to both keep a family connected and separated at the same time. If a family member is far away, the distance seems to vanish due to technology. With websites such as Skype and facetime, it is possible to see and have a conversation with each other as if they were in the same room. However, technology can also have the opposite affect on a family. While a family may all be together, they may all be so engrossed in their devices that they all end up ignoring each other.
Richtel stated that “Mr. Nass at Stanford thinks the ultimate risk of heavy technology use is that it diminishes empathy by limiting how much people engage with one another, even in the same room” (20). This can be seen by the fact that some family members may actually isolate themselves away from the rest of their family to be on their device. Richtel gives the example of Kord Campbell who has “lingered in the bathroom playing video games on an iPhone” rather than spend time with his family (17).
So, while technology may be able to bring long distance family members together, it can also make a family ignore and stay away from each other. Lastly, while technology makes vacationing easier, the experience can also be greatly impeded on by it. With the massive amounts of sources that people now have access to, it has become much easier to book and schedule trips. This can be seen by the fact that someone can buy plane and train tickets and book hotel rooms on the computer.
The distractions that come with technology, however, can interfere with someone’s vacation. Due to the pull that devices have on some people, they may become so enthralled with their devices that they miss out on a large part of the experience. Matt Richtel again gives the example of Mr, Campbell when “he had spent two hours a day online in the hotel’s business center” rather than enjoy his vacation with his wife (19). This shows how a part of the vacation was spoiled on electronics rather than the experience.
Another part of that experience that they will miss is the chance to meet new people. If someone is engrossed in their device, then they will probably not socialize with the people around them. This is how technology, while helpful in planning a trip, can also intrude on the experience that the person has. Although there is a multitude of benefits that technology bring to a person’s everyday life, it can also bring negative consequences to someone’s work and school performance, their family life, and their vacation experience.
With all of the distractions that technology can produce, it may interfere with someone’s work and cause them to fall behind and produce a subpar performance. This new technology has also detracted people from spending quality time with their family due to their devices distractive powers. These powers to distract people have also led technology to ruin some people’s vacations since they were not able to enjoy it as much as they could of. Due to all of these reasons, it can be concluded that the downsides of technology greatly overshadow the benefits.