Technology: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

My personal relationship with technology

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

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.

5 Replies to “Technology: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It”

  1. Hailey, I loved reading your post and I definitely resonate with the childhood memories you shared. My parents had to fight me to come back in the house at the end of the day! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hailey, Great post that captures our love / hate with technology. It opens with a powerful observation about tech enabling education and other institutions to operate through the pandemic. And as you note, it does provide a steady stream of entertainment.

    But services like Zoom or Netflix are paid and what you buy is connectivity or content. In contrast social media is free. Or at least we’ve been tricked into thinking it is. In fact, our attention is bought and sold on social media. And that incessant “like” gif on your post is there to keep us hooked and engaged.

    I remember media free summer childhood like yours. Sitting with friends wondering what are we going to do today. And building lots of tree forts. Too bad kids no longer have that.

  3. Hailey, your comment about what the pandemic would have been like if it hit ten years ago really made me think! Even with all the equity issues that the pandemic highlighted, imagine what would have occurred then?
    I admire your Instagram-free life, especially when I spend several hours staring at my phone a day. Great job setting boundaries for your health and wellbeing!

  4. Hi Hailey!
    I enjoyed reading your post and I feel that many of us are in this same position. Sometimes using our screens can almost take over our lives because it is addicting. But on the other hand, it is helpful when we have technology to help us with school work or through communication. I think it is important that we are able to find that balance and manage our screen time and only use it when it is necessary.

  5. Hailey, I agree! I also wrote that I had a love/hate relationship with technology. It is hard to live without at time point, but it can bring so many burdens upon life too. It is great you were able to disconnect from Instagram, that sounds pretty freeing.

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