What would life be like without technology? Only a century ago, the telephone was the latest and greatest advancement. Now, technology has become a staple in everyday life. The world relies more and more on technology-driven products and processes as they reduce time needed to accomplish tasks and are generally viewed as positive. The safety net of technology is always there; it guides, keeps schedules on track and facilitates global communication and connections. However, while technology is helpful, it can diminish patience, focus and human interaction while increasing dependency. Expecting an immediate gratifying response isn't realistic in non-technology driven parts of life. By relying more on technology than direct human contact, there may be a tendency to expect all aspects of life to move as quickly as the technology sector. Technology can be helpful to society but the benefits often come at a cost in the process of adjusting or keeping up with constant changes and advancements.
Dependence on technology can be a big disadvantage to technology usage and access. Having technology available in many forms through land line telephones, cellphones, email, social networking sites, business and visual sites can be overwhelming. This constant accessibility is not a problem to most technology consumers but can be a dependency issue for others that takes them away from direct human interaction. By relying more on technology than direct contact with friends, family, acquaintances or colleagues; some people may find themselves withdrawing and becoming increasingly isolated from their community. Depending on technology for news, communication, entertainment and employment information and support can also have negative effects with offices coming to a stop if the Internet or other services are down.
Ironically, while more connected than ever, the technologically-dependent population is increasingly more isolated from human interaction. By connecting more in ways that don't involve face-to-face contact like through chat rooms, texts, forums and websites, that direct contact is reduced. Spending more time sitting alone in front of a computer than out in the community further limits social interaction while letter writing and even phone conversations are diminishing as well. With this use high use of technology, society is becoming more individualized and even isolated from that face-to-face interaction. Unplugging from technology can become more difficult because users are afraid they will miss out on something that has happened if they aren't connected at all times. In fact, they may be missing out on face-to-face contact with their community. Additionally, by removing the human aspect of contact and relying so much on technology, there are increasing online dangers related to misrepresentation on social forums and potential predators in chat rooms.
Community etiquette has not yet caught up with technological advances. Announcements in movie theaters instruct viewers to turn off their phones in movie theaters but there are still people ignoring that request with a brightly-lit screen or ringing phone during the movie. Some individuals hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to spread rumors or write hate-filled comments on websites. Cyber bullying is a common problem, but the laws that cover bullying are newly developed and often difficult to enforce due in part to problems identifying the perpetrators from their digital identity. Identity thieves can utilize technology to hack into accounts while impersonators access social networking profiles. Privacy issues and the sharing of information have not been fully addressed yet with new laws governing internet usage or common etiquette in the digital world.
Job loss can happen when technology makes traditional jobs that were originally created for and accomplished by people, obsolete. Technology has advanced to the point that a computer can do some jobs faster and more accurately than a person can. Many of the workers who are being replaced are line workers and assemblers without the needed computer skills to easily find another job. Without continued technological training, many employees are edged out of the workforce. Computer illiteracy can translate to an immediate disqualification from a huge percentage of jobs strictly based on potential employees not having updated technology skills. Many of today's employers search for and expect candidates to have mastered online communication and popular computer programs.
- National Conference of State Legislatures: State Cyberstalking, Cyberharassment and Cyberbullying Laws
- PC World: Text Messaging Etiquette -- To Text or Not to Text
- Information Age: Modern technology: advantages and disadvantages
- Green Garage: 10 Top Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology in Education
- Odyssey: Technology Advantages and Disadvantages