Week 3: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Danah Boyd explains in her novel, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, that there is an inherent difference between technology addiction and overuse. In today’s society, the term addiction is thrown out without second thought by concerned parents whose teens are seemingly consumed by technology and emerging digital cultures. Although I want to believe that I maintain a balance between my online and offline lives, I am aware that my online activity is taking up an overwhelming amount of my day, and creating excuses to put off face-to-face interaction. I’ve noticed that I shy away from confrontation and rather submit to a technological interaction to solve problems. This isn’t a healthy way to live life. Where is the personal growth and development? This is what concerned parents should be worried about: how technology is a limiting agent to offline interactions and is beginning to replace traditional forms of communication, instead of monitoring their children’s actions are online.

In the YouTube video, “Digital Insanity: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? Why I Refuse to Let Technology Control Me,” user ‘Prince Ea’ communicates the importance of social interaction in our world today, amidst our obsessions with our virtual lives and personas. “The average person spends four years of his life looking down at his cellphone,” he poetically declares.

However, as a member of this ‘new youth culture’, I’ve recently noticed that this decade is developing a proactive culture. The beginning of the new millennium saw the development of Facebook and other emerging social networking platforms. As the progression of these technologies have slowly incorporated themselves into our everyday lives, people have begun to realize and react to the technological “addiction” and have created movements, like ‘Prince Ea’s,’ to facilitate more real-world experiences, in place of virtual ones.

I have witnessed, first-hand, that this new decade is more aware of this idea and is speaking out to prevent others from ‘missing out on life.’ Peers are now seeing the importance of putting down their mobile devices and are becoming more PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE about their technology use. By no means has this proactivity stopped or solved the problem with technology overuse, however, it is an important step in slowing down the apparent dependence adolescents have on technology today.

4 thoughts on “Week 3: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

  1. sjanetos

    Once I hid my roommate’s phone because he wouldn’t pay attention to me and was on Instagram for our whole conversation. As a result, he got mad and wouldn’t pay attention to me. Trying to limit other people’s technology usage is a slippery slope.

  2. prisahdev

    I totally understand where you are coming from when you say that you shy away from confrontation and instead use technology interactions to help confront your problems. I myself am a very non confrontational person, and sometimes I find myself wanting to text someone asking if everything is alright, or talk about an issue over text rather than face to face. I also know many others who face the same problem. In that sense, I do agree that technology can hinder our personal interactions. A lot of people do this but don’t realize what is happening–that we are using technology to avoid confrontation. I can see technology in this way hinder our personal growth and development.

  3. samanthaong

    I love the video you posted! Regarding confrontation, I am by nature a pretty confrontational person, so I don’t use technology to replace face to face conversations. I do, however, use technology to solve my problems in a different sense- I go on anonymous chat forums when I feel lonely/ when I don’t have anyone to confide my troubles to, and read self-help articles when I don’t know how to deal with an issue I’m facing. Technology is almost like a vehicle/ shout box for me to resolve inner distress, and return to the “real world” in a much better state.

  4. abwrubel

    Face to face conversation also requires a set of skills that allow an individual to react and adapt quickly depending on the context or setting. Technological interactions offer a definitive means of communicating with one another that also maximizes the individual’s control over the situation. As human interaction becomes more and more abstract and less human, how will it affect the ways in which we use normal interactions as a means of subconsciously expressing our character and who we are? If we continue to over-use technology, would people become representations or signifiers of what is more human?

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