Diana using her digital list for grocery shopping (pht cred: Jacqueline Flores)

By: Jacqueline Flores 

Phones and social media are everywhere. It’s in our classrooms, at work, even in our relationships. 

Social media, like Facebook or Instagram, allows us to virtually keep up with our friends and family without having to really interact with them. Mobile devices have become crucial in relationships and communication. 

Realtor Ariana Villalobos, believes that there are benefits of technology in everyday life. 

“I don’t think I would really know anything about my family in Mexico if I couldn’t connect with them online,” said Villalobos. 

But when does technology usage become too much?

The invention of the Internet has fundamentally changed the course of human evolution. All of our answers are seemingly in the palm of our hands. We do not even have to type it–Siri or Alexa will do the searching for you.

Convenience is a major attraction from technology. We look for a simpler way to get through the day. Features like voice memos and air drops, eliminate steps that were already not that hard to do. 

“There’s no excuse to not know something… it feels like I can’t go a day with questions unanswered,” said medical auditor Diana Flores.

So when our lives become so reliant on the device we carry, what then? 

Flores continued, “But eventually we won’t be able to think without it.” Ironically, her voice courses from the phone to the mic.” We don’t really learn much on our own anymore,” she added. 

With practical access to millions of answers and ideas online, like the website Google offers, we no longer feel encouraged to look for those answers on our own. Most of us might not even think about it.  

We also rely on technology for entertainment, so now it’s no longer a means to make life simpler but to get through the boring parts of it. According to a census conducted by Common Sense Media, where they surveyed about 2,600 youths, teens spend at least ⅓ of their day ‘using media such as online video or music’—nearly 8 hours of daily online activity.

To rely on technology is to ultimately create yourself an addiction. And we cannot even help it. 

Every year, our devices become increasingly reliable, offering more for your every need. 

According to a study from CBS Philadelphia, 80% of people grab their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up and out of that 80%, 62% grab their phones immediately after. There are no breaks, no moment of clarity before we are back online. 

Should this be considered as a problem?  

Technology reliance or dependence has become more popular in the past few years. Many are beginning to notice just how much technology usage is affecting our lives and loved ones.

Pubmed Central reported that extensive screen use can have potentially harmful effects such as: attention deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, and disrupted sleep. 

CSUSB psychology student Karen Abarca mentioned that she “[thinks] it is a problem.”

“I feel like everyone is glued to their phones right now, and it makes it hard for us to communicate with each other normally. It kinda makes us all more socially awkward,” added Abarca.

Abarca might be right. It’s a lot harder to connect with those around us because of the constant disruption of checking our phones and at times, full on usage of our phones. 

 In “A challenge of Absent Presence”, American Social Psychologist, Kenneth Gergen explains the meaning of absent presence in communication technology. “One is physically present but is absorbed by a technologically mediated world of elsewhere.” 

We have taken advantage of the normalization of phone usage, that even during interactions with others, we no longer consider partial attentiveness as crass. We have established this as normal or atleast unintentional. 

And that’s it. 

The reality is, technology advances are inevitable. Every day, technology is upgraded. 

Apple’s iPhone has multiple system upgrades to enhance a user’s experience and they release new versions of the mobile device almost every year. Currently, the iPhone 15 offers more data, more battery life—and overall more. 

Conveniency will always be the goal. 

And the truth is, while technology can be incredibly straining to its users, it has overall changed society to become faster and more advanced.

So for now, no public uproar. We will continue to rely, to connect, and to reap the benefits. Just like climate change, and thousands of other problems our society has, we will sweep it under the rug. 

For now, we scroll. 

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