Filling the Void

Imagine: It’s 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning. You sit on your couch, drinking coffee, pondering the positive and negative effects that technology has on your life. While sitting, waiting, and trying to compile a mental list of ways technology has made the world a better and worse place, your phone digs. A Snapchat comes through. You must open it right away because that seems like a much better way to spend your time than doing homework. After replying to the Snapchat, you get distracted by a TikTok notification which in turn wraps you into the never-ending “For You Page.”

Tik-Tok, Tik-Tok. An hour passes.

You still can not manage to finish your assignments because you have become completely engulfed in the different cat memes, recipe videos, and makeup tutorials that have now taken over the amount of time that you could have been spending on your homework.

It seems almost ironic for me to sit here and try to discuss the negativities that technology has had on the world and my life, when, in full transparency, I have allowed it to control many aspects of my life, including my last hour of time that I should have been working on assignments. I feel like we can all agree that technology is not going anywhere, so we may as well embrace different parts of it and allow it to benefit us, while also understanding that there are negatives that we need to be cautious of.

To begin on a lighter note, there are many ways in which technology has personally benefitted me. I have grown up in a military family, which has caused me to move from state to state, leaving my friends from different cities behind every few years. While sending letters in the mail is always an option, technology such as texting and social media has allowed me to keep in touch with so many different people that I have met throughout my moving experiences. The distance does not seem so negative when I can call my friends who live 2,000 miles away to catch up or see what they are doing through their Instagram posts. Similarly, my family and partner both live on the opposite sides of the United States. By having devices that allow us to communicate via FaceTime, the months in between when I see the most important people in my life does not seem like as much of a struggle.

Not only has technology benefitted my life on a personal level, but also a professional level. By having ample experience with different technology, I have been hired for multiple job positions. I worked as a photographer and video producer which allowed me to develop passions for photo/video editing which is now one of my favorite hobbies. On top of this, I have been assigned to create the TikToks for marketing for my job as a bridal stylist. Through these TikToks, our business has grown and many people are discovering the shop because of this platform (one of my videos actually received 1.2 million views!) Not only has technology helped my part time jobs, but I know it will help my teaching career as well. In my student teaching classroom, we use technology on a daily basis. I have found engaging and fun lessons from other teachers on Instagram and TikTok that I have tried in my own classroom. Similarly, we use technology for the students to be able to follow along by teaching with the iPad/projector. Students have been able to use exciting subject specific applications that allow them to learn different material in a way that benefits and interests them. We also use technology to allow the students to get up and dance through brain-breaks and mindfulness exercises. Technology in a professional setting has allowed created opportunities that did not previously exist.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

With this being said, it is important to recognize the negative effects that technology can have on our lives because it is important to be able to create a balance between the real world and the virtual world. So many aspects of the world we live in is controlled by the technology at our finger-tips. As I was discussing earlier, we have become so dependent on technology and the distractions that it causes. Instead of using my time this morning to focus, I was enthralled by random, almost-meaningless videos. Instead of using my time to brainstorm by going on a walk or going outside, I spent my time negatively. Technology has become a crutch to fill the void. In social situations, when we run out of topics to talk about, most of us could admit that we take out our phone to fill the awkward silences. There have been countless times when my family is hanging out in the same room and we are all silent and on our phones instead of enjoying each others company. The first thing I do in the morning is check my phone and the last thing I do at night is scroll on my social medias one last time before setting my phone on my night stand. Why have we become so obsessed with the people on our screens instead of the life right in front of us? This obsession has caused us to develop a toxic mentality of the “perfect image” and deteriorated our personal skills. What are we trying to prove? Social media has actually enabled us to become less social people in the real world.

It is important to understand both the benefits and downfalls that technology has had on our everyday life. Technology seems as though it is around to stay; therefore, by understanding how we can better ourselves and our lives, we must understand how we can use technology in a meaningful way without allowing it to completely take over our ability to be a social and functioning society.

3 Replies to “Filling the Void”

  1. Elizabeth, I love the irony of your opening for this post. And yes, we are all guilty of scrolling through click bait. Myself included.

    It’s a very thoughtful and well written piece. Filled with personal insights that you generalize to connect with your readers. Well done! And well illustrated.

    Your explanation of the professional benefits of social media makes a compelling argument. And interesting to read how you have leveraged it in your life.

    I’m a big fan of Twitter for that reason. I got on in 2008, about the time I moved to Portland. I came here without a job nor any friends or connections. (though I worked as an independent consultant).

    Twitter filled that gap and soon I had connected with the educational community here. Gotten involved in a bunch of projects and was recruited to teach at UP. I think Twitter works for me, because of the people I follow. Always getting great teaching ideas from my peers.

  2. That first Tik-Tok Tik-Tok had me laughing and immediately excited to read your post! Your writing is engaging and hilarious, painfully honest and transparent. Technology absolutely has the potential to take over our lives but with so many benefits, it’s so hard to ignore. While kind of scary to jump into the world of teaching a generation who won’t know a world without technology, we have so many new tools and resources available to us to nurture the next generation of responsible students who are only appropriately obsessed with technology.

  3. I liked the build up of your post! It really is my Sunday morning in nutshell haha. I also like the profound realization you have: “Social media has actually enabled us to become less social people in the real world.” I totally agree with this. I believe that social media not only makes us less social in reality, but it also changes the way in which we socialize. I started feeling like I HAD to stay on social media because everyone around me would quote tiktok audios or reference funny memes. And if I didn’t know them, there would be an awkward pause and a sense of lost opportunity to relate and laugh with the other person. This type of socializing requires everyone to interact on social media in order to feel ‘in the loop’ and relevant.

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