Eight years ago I quit Facebook. One of the many reasons was my ex-classmate, posting a photo of her child every second. Years later, when I became a mom, I had a difficult conversation with my family about not posting pictures of our children on social media. It was shocking for them, it was shocking for me – albeit not for the same reason. This is how my digital parenting rollercoaster began.
So if I think about technology, I find myself thinking either if it’s fantastic, or I’d like to go back to the old times before electricity was even invented – with this much of my anxiety could be saved. But then I look at myself – I have a phone in my hand. Let’s face reality: I can’t even take a step without it.
Both good and bad aspects should be considered when it comes to evaluating the role of technology in our lives. I invite you to take a look at how it affects our communication and behavior and also how we can relate to instant access to information.
How Technology Can Affect Our Communication
I know people care about me and vice versa. With messaging, making calls, or having online meetings my family and friends are closer than ever. At any minute I can reach out to them, talk and share information. Of course, it applies to work manners as well.
We can set up things easily, effectively, and fast, we don’t have to wait for the postman to arrive. What a relief!
It is convenient and budget-friendly. There’s no need to get a bus or walk to grandma’s house for 40 minutes. From my cozy couch or the office’s elevator, I can connect.
I often experience there’s a huge expectation of being always available, answering calls or messages in seconds. This however is not always possible and also should not be. Whether it’s Auntie asking if we want brownies in the afternoon or my manager calling because there’s always something to fix – right now of course.
Especially in written form, I see there’s a huge chance of running into misunderstandings. No matter if 4 emojis are balancing the text, the additional non-verbal signs are missing. I really ’like’ conversations like I need to call back someone to explain what I just sent in the chat. Isn’t it counterproductive?
Of course, I need to mention generational differences and personality traits: this way of communication is not for everyone. The human brain is wired to the old-school talk: eye contact, gestures, movement of the body. This is still universal.
How Technology Can Affect our Behaviour
There was no other era when we could widen our perspective as much as we do nowadays. We all have the chance to break down preconceptions, stop building blocks, giving free way to be grateful for each other’s lives only because we have the freedom and tools to do so. Think about the viral videos where people are helping each other in need.
Through the help of many smart solutions, we can create meaningful and useful routines for ourselves. I do not like to keep in mind which room should I clean today or when to practice meditation, but the app I use reminds me of it. Having such an external ’whisperer’ is extremely helpful.
I was amazed this year by how many free resources are available online for learning, and upskilling. Isn’t it wonderful that the more we learn about the world, the more we develop ourselves? Is it possible that the world can be a bit better through it?
– Everyday situation: the kid is watching a video while eating at the canteen. Mom wants to take the phone away, you know the rest. Here comes anger, aggression, and interpersonal conflicts, but only watching this scene makes me feel bad and anxious. Who can stay strong?
– Setting limits – this can be read everywhere as a solution. It is not just not easy, but the design itself does not allow us to relax and take our devices down. After all, it was made to be used. It may be apocalyptic, but can we win by setting limits to technology through technology?
– The hardest consequence is addiction. Our kids can be addicted, and we as parents are addicted, even grandparents. Dopamine and endorphin are the friends of incentive, making us want more and more.
Good advice: don’t start to play with Candy Crush.
Instant Access to Information
Pizza or tortilla for dinner? I can see all the needed ingredients, estimated cooking time, and calories, difficulty level. I can even compare the two regard to any category. All at once every information is available which helps to make decisions so much easier and faster. I rather order Italian pasta.
Not just for learning, but for job search, finding my partner and our home, and reaching any dreams, I’m using it for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. How did we live without it when we were kids? Technology can make our lives better in general. Once we learn how to use it wisely.
I only learned at university how to decide whether a resource is trustworthy or not. Extra research is what we can often forget – because every piece of information is available so fast, it seems to be right. Do I really want to believe in an algorithm? Critical thinking, research skills, and patience: this is what the university is actually teaching us.
Filtering information takes so much mental capacity, that I get easily tired of it. How to balance common sense and easy access? Emotions, stay away, wise inner sense, come to me!
So it is what it is. Technology is complex, messy, beautiful, hopeful, extreme and controversial. One thing is for sure: if we can tame the Beast, it may be our Guest.