Holden On: Is Technology Beneficial?
February 7, 2012 • 645 views
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Have you ever wondered if our lives would be better without the distractions that fill our lives? Ever contemplate why we feel the need to check Facebook or Twitter incessantly just to see if anything new has happened in our world?
While it’s clear that technology has brought some major benefits to our lives, it has also become evident that it can be more of a distraction. With our laptops and smartphones, we have the ability to access an unprecedented amount of information within seconds. However, it’s not as if that has made us any better than past generations.
Before the Internet, just a few decades ago, there were students who studied at Harriton without the internet and turned out just fine. Our parents and our teachers, the main sources of our knowledge, were raised in a time before the internet, but they clearly have the knowledge necessary to explain things to a far greater extent than any website could.
And that leads to the major problem with the Internet, because anyone can access it, it means there is a plethora of misinformation. We try to trust the Internet, but in the end the information within our beloved Wikipedia will never be as trustworthy as the information within the books in our libraries.
Within our school life, we have begun a transition from textbooks to internet resources. We use technology to submit our essays to turnitin.com or finish problem sets on Webassign, but would we have taken that break to watch a youtube video or check Facebook, if we were doing this work by hand?
The answer is probably no. The Internet is distracting. It’s a fact. In our natural human state of imperfection, we are bound to realize that there are many more interesting things on the Internet and nothing preventing our access to it. We end up wasting inordinate amounts of time on aptly named websites like iwastesomuchtime.com and end up looking to the upper right corner of our computers and wondering how it got so late.
However, there’s no real solution to this because the Internet is useful. Remember the whole part about having all the information in the world? The only way we can end this is self-control, something completely lacking in a high school student. Technology is also becoming somewhat of a crutch, something we rely on and seem unable to function without.
The best example of this is our dependence on calculators. Anyone who attended elementary school learned the basic operations of math, but now that we have calculators that can do it for us, we seem unable to do math in our heads. If you walked into the library and asked a random student, hey what’s 13 times 14, the student would most likely take out a calculator without a second thought.
Now this may seem like it’s some sort of unwarranted rant, and I would be remiss in saying that it isn’t, but with our school-distributed laptops, the problem becomes more relevant.
I’m not really sure where I stand on technology as a whole, because though it has had its clear benefits to our society as a whole, it has also been detrimental.