The Power of Technology: What are you not doing?

“I think the new iPhone…”

“Did you hear about that tablet…?”

“I heard the new computer can…”

This is what the conversations at my family gatherings sound like.  Technology. That is what we talk about.

At school:

“My new phone is…”

“I can’t believe he posted that…”

“I was just on Youtube and…”

“I’ll text you later…”

Why are our thoughts and conversations so centered on technology? Why are we so dependent on it? Why does our generation know the ins and outs of our gadgets and devices? Could it be that we’ve just grown up with it?

I’ve seen toddlers unlock their parent’s smart phones and take hundreds of pictures of their thumb, which has inconveniently slipped over the camera lens. Some know how to work the TV, while others still are handy with a tablet. They are growing up with it. Fourth-graders with iPhones seems a little excessive to me, yet we take computer classes in school from the age of six. Kids of the 21st century are exposed to it, and some just can’t get enough. In fact, in South Korea, “e-Sports” has become a huge part of the country’s culture.

Not only does South Korea rank highest in the history of the World Cyber Games, but it also has professional leagues that are sponsored by companies like Samsung. Professional players’ salaries can be over $100,000, however the average player’s salary is about $20,000. Two TV networks are dedicated entirely to e-Sports and in 2005, 120,000 fans came to a stadium in Busan, South Korea to watch a professional final. To put that in context, only 71,000 people came to the 2013 Super Bowl. South Korea’s gaming hype may seem a little over the top to people in the U.S., but in Asia, it has truly become part of the culture.

Another reason might be social media. Information is incredibly accessible for anyone who wants to get at it. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. The inverse of that is the fact that anyone can post anything online. Some people might say that they’re just “expressing themselves” but people can make themselves look like anything that they want to look like.

I won’t go so far as to say that technology is evil; it’s not. For some reason, it is really appealing to most people; who knows why? However, sometimes the question is less about what you’re doing, it’s what you aren’t. For example, staring at a computer screen does not count as running around outside, or reading or taking a hike in the woods.

So are we too infatuated with technology? Ask yourself: What am I not doing? Do I mind that? Why? So get outside. Twitter can wait. So can Dr. Who.  Video games have a pause button.

What are you not doing?