Opinion: Dependent on technology

David Chen

David Chen

By Angela Loiacono

Let me paint you a picture. Let’s say you have three midterms coming up – all on the same day. Meanwhile, you have two articles due for journalism class and a column to write for the campus newspaper.

Now, just as you’re about to sit down to begin any of the above, your computer monitor goes pitch black with no signs of recovery. Had this been you, chances are you might have flipped out; just as I did last week. Around 2:30 p.m. last Friday, I felt as if my life was coming to an end. It was imperative to my existence that I have use of my computer. After all, it’s kind of hard to access online study guides and notes without a screen to display the information.

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As the week dragged on, I began to feel as if I had lost an extremity. I borrowed so many computers that my nickname on the residence-hall floor was Klepto. It was annoyingly apparent how much I relied on my computer. This, coming from the columnist who, while writing this piece, is sitting at a desk with a cell phone, MP3 player, tape recorder, printer/scanner and computer – all next to the television, VCR/DVD player, etc. My reliance on technology reached a breaking point, and it made me realize how dependent I have become on it.

I used to be that little kid who sat perched at the window waiting for the mailman to walk up the sidewalk. I’d hope one of the envelopes he carried would have my name on it. Now, I’m the person who checks my e-mail every time I sit down at my desk. It’s not just me, though. Almost everyone I know has fallen victim to the overuse of technology.

At some point, none of us had the use of computers, cell phones or the Internet. Yet, somehow we got by. Yes, my wireless keyboard is a little more convenient than a typewriter, but I, as well as many others, have placed too much emphasis on the idea that technology is a necessity.

Beyond the scope of pure reliance, technological advances also have started to make our interpersonal relationships grow cold. When I pick up the phone to call just about anywhere, I expect to talk to a computer. I feel as if I’ve become good friends with the woman who says “leave your message after the tone” on almost every cell phone ever manufactured. It’s as if people are slowly moving away from talking to one another. Sadly, I can’t name more than a few individuals I know who’d rather leave the comfort of their desk chair than their computer to communicate. Also, I can count on one hand the number of people who have tried to keep in touch with a friend by meeting them for coffee instead of talking to them through e-mail.

Based on experience, it seems as if people have relinquished their people skills for the ability to navigate the Internet like pros. I often use e-mail when a phone call or face-to-face conversation would be more appropriate (note to self: Mom and Dad don’t appreciate an e-mail asking for money).

Everywhere I look, it seems people are reliant on gadgets that run on a Duracell or manufactured by Dell. The next time you lose your mind over a lost cell phone, you should pause to think about how you survived before cell phones even became a permanent accessory.

Angela Loiacono is a sophomore in LAS. She is a guest columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]