December 3, 2020

Tech Overdose

Kendra Hicks is a senior journalism major and staff writer for The Journal

Staring at my phone and my computer screen is one of my favorite pasttimes. Like any typical 20 something, when I get a moment I will play “Angry Birds” read Yahoo news or log on to most college students’ addiction: Facebook. It wasn’t that long ago I realized maybe this is not as harmless as I thought. I thought it was becoming an addiction. I felt like I always had to have my phone on me or I had to get on the Internet. If I didn’t, I would feel uncomfortable and unarmed. I now, thankfully, don’t feel like I have to get on my computer every day of the week or be on my phone until it dies. Others can’t say the same; technology has truly made a lot of young people and older adults prisoners to their phone and computer screens. People now stop what they are doing if they know they have received a text message or a Facebook alert. Or they think they can do two things at once, such as drive and text. According to the National Safety Council, last year texting while driving was the cause of 28 percent of accidents. For more and more addicts, there is a strange sense of urgency to check their phone when it goes off. What’s wrong with checking your phone at a stop light or when parked? This way no one gets hurt. My ex-boyfriend is terrible about this. He will text and drive on the highway! I would literally yell at him to stop, and if he didn’t, I’d take the phone. Our lives are not worth him answering a text message or a Facebook alert. I refuse to let him do something so stupid while I’m in the car with him. A woman in Colorado is now facing 50 years in jail because her 13-month-old died in the bath tub while she checked her friend’s status in the other room. In Florida, a woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder because she was too busy playing FarmVille on Facebook to get off the computer, tend to her child and see what was wrong – she shook him until he died. The craziest thing I read was on CBS online. A woman used her iPhone until the tendons connecting her thumb to her palm became so inflamed that she needed surgery and stitches to correct the problem. This issue has become so serious that you can go to rehab for technology. Before these articles I didn’t think anyone could be addicted to texting, until I observed a co-worker. He would be on his phone all day long texting his friends and checking his Facebook for eight hours. He was so caught up in his phone that when we would try to talk to him he wouldn’t acknowledge us until we yelled. As a joke, another co-worker and I hid his phone for 30 minutes and he freaked out like someone had stolen his wallet. When we finally gave it back to him, he had four missed calls (two from himself), twelve text messages and five Facebook alerts. We were amazed. I didn’t think it was possible to recieve that much attention in such a short period of time. He told me he recieves about 7,000 text messages a month. To this day, I still don’t know how people manage to send out that many. Technology is affecting our attention span to the point that driving and paying attention in class have become a chore. On campus, I have noticed more and more students are taking “notes” on their computers. I am always fascinated when I am sitting behind a student who is doing everything from Facebook to shopping instead of taking notes. As an experiment, I think everyone who feels they can’t live without their phone or their computer should try to not use them for a week. I think a lot of us couldn’t last a day. I love technology as much as the next person. I think it’s amazing that I can video call a friend that lives in a different country or that my phone can tell me what time the movie I want to see is playing. What I don’t like is that people’s attention spans are now as long as a 2-year-old’s.

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