My personal relationship with technology
As the title suggests, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I think there are so many ways that technology has enhanced our lives, especially when I hear stories from my parents or grandparents. For example, if COVID had happened even ten years earlier, would we still be able to get a college education? As challenging and draining as classes can be on Zoom, at least I was still able to work on my degree and interact with my professors and classmates through quarantine.
However, there are lots of cons of tech too. Sometimes technology can feel too invasive (I HATE targeted ads), cyberbullying is a real problem, and it is so addictive that it can take away from building in-person connections because so many people I know have become “screen-agers.”
While I certainly had more technology than my parents did growing up, I still like to think of myself as someone who grew up without being glued to a screen. I am not part of the generation of iPad kids and I remember the days of playing outside after school. We would ride scooters with kids in our neighborhood, set up lemonade stands, play hide and seek or sardines, take trips to the library, and make “food” out of mud (we had a whole outdoor kitchen set up in the backyard and I know my mom hated that we would steal dirt from all of her plants to make “cupcakes” and “pasta” that she had to sample). I worry that the students I teach will have no desire for play and exploration because they will be too attached to their screens. This thought makes me so sad because I remember my childhood so fondly and all of my best memories do NOT involve technology.
On the other hand, technology has made my life my life easier and more enjoyable in so many ways. Any time I have a mundane question, the answer is just one google search away. And with Netflix, Spotify, Hulu and all other entertainment platforms, I never have to worry about being bored. During the beginning of quarantine, my friends and I would spend every night on a Zoom call watching movies on Netflix Party, playing Jackbox Games, or keeping up on the Bachelor. Even though I would have preferred seeing them in-person, these calls were so beneficial for my mental health and I am thankful for that side of technology.
Now back to another negative of technology. I think that with the advent of social media, there are so many unrealistic standards being presented. People obviously present the best version of themselves on platforms like Instagram, but at times it can feel really fake. This can be dangerous for teenagers and young adults who feel that they have to live up to impossible standards of beauty. With this also comes things like anonymous cyberbullying. I had Instagram for a few years, but finally deleted it because I was spending too much time keeping up with people I wasn’t super close to. While I do miss having it at times because I feel out of the loop, I also much prefer seeing the real side of my friends when I hang out with them in-person.
As you can see through these examples, there are so many pros and cons of technology. The bottom line, though, is that technology is abundant in our lives and it is up to us to figure out the most responsible and useful ways to make it a part of our lives. I cannot wait to find ways to incorporate technology in my classroom while also making sure my students know how many things they can do without using a screen.