Everything in moderation; technology culture promotes addiction

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Luisa Muradyan, an instructor of English and literature, reads a book in front of Hale library, Friday, Oct. 4.

Students are almost constantly on their smartphones, whether to text their
friends, Google answers to professor’s questions, look up who that actress
was in that movie, or just scroll through social media. It’s no secret that an average college student may feel like they cannot exist without a smartphone on a daily basis.

The number
of things one can do on a smartphone is endless. However the battery life is
not. When the red bar turns into a black screen, panic sets in and
the technology addiction is activated.

“I turn into a ball of nerves,” Kelsi Schuckman, senior in communication sciences and disorders, said. “I can’t focus on anything else besides finding a way to charge my phone. It’s the most stressful part of my day.”

To an older generation this may seem extraordinary, but to those who grew up with the Internet, it’s typical.

The culture of technology promotes addiction. If a particular device is unusable, one simply turns to a different device until the other is usable again or replaces the inoperative device entirely. New products are created and longer battery lives implemented. There is no escape unless one actively creates one. Bill Genereux, associate engineering technology professor, said he thinks that escape is key.

“I’m a computer guy,” Genereux said. “I love gadgets. I love technology. I do without cellphones. It’s a relief. I’m not connected at the hip. When I’m driving into work, that’s my sanctuary. I can think, meditate and listen to audio books.”

Genereux said he thinks that people should be more selective about their technology use.

“Technology is like a drug,” Genereux said. “It plays to our pleasure center. Don’t just get on it if you’re bored. Use it with purpose.”

Though specialists are uncertain of the long-term effects of technology overuse, it’s a general rule that moderation is key. Even students can agree that there needs to be an escape, or a time of day where technology is not the fuel.

“I’m normally attached to my phone,” Lindsay McGrath, senior in elementary education, said. “So when I decide to leave it alone for a while, it’s a peaceful thing. I’m not worried about anyone texting me. I don’t know the psychological science behind it, but it feels good to be ‘off the grid,’ even if it’s just for an hour or two.”

When it comes to technology, take a page from McGrath and get off the grid for a bit. Whether that be on vacation somewhere outside of Kansas or just for a few hours while studying, it may prove to be beneficial in all areas of life.

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