Tech, Now + Beyond

We’re all addicts – admit it

When was the last time you hung out with friends without pulling out your phone?

I was riding down the hot streets of Bangladesh in a rickshaw, grasping on for dear life. The weather was humid, my glasses were steaming up, and my body was sweaty. I was bored out of my mind. To occupy myself, I had an iPad in one hand, my iPhone in my other hand, and I was listening to music through my Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.

As the rickshaw came to a quick stop, I jolted forward and held on tightly to my appliances. I looked around me and watched a group of kids my age walk by, nearly clothless. However, they seemed to be so happy and enjoying themselves despite the weather and environment. Here I was in the middle of nowhere, using technology to keep myself happy and right beside me were some kids who had probably never even heard of an iPad.

I had everything; they had nothing. I was miserable; they were cheerful. However, there was one thing they had that I didn’t — a smile on their faces.

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Now that I look back at that experience, I find it ridiculous. Is technology really necessary to keep ourselves happy? Kids as young as two and three years old playing games on iPads and tablets, teenagers constantly on their phones using Instagram and Facebook, adults watching television all day long…all for what? To keep ourselves occupied because there is nothing better to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of this myself. Admit it, the last time the internet wouldn’t load fast enough on your laptop you were frustrated. We’re all guilty of this, and the fact that we use technology to keep ourselves content is absurd. As society continues our mass use of technology, our dependence on technology to keep ourselves happy becomes stronger, thus diminishing the little things in life that can make us truly happy.

Our society is progressing towards the use of technology for everything these days. You have restaurants like Stacked where you order your food on an iPad. You have the new iWatch from Apple, where not only can you look at the time, but you have access to the weather, your notifications, and you can listen to music!

Data shows that 90 percent of Americans own some type of computerized gadget that they use everyday. All this to please ourselves when really there are numerous other non-technology related ways to keep ourselves happy.

When was the last time you spent quality time with friends and family without any technology involved? Movie nights with the family don’t count since a television is present. Neither does spending time with friends where you guys are texting each other in the same room.

Instead, go for a long walk or hike with your family and actually observe the nature around you. Go shopping with friends and try out funky outfits at stores you usually never step into. Enjoy a day at the park and paint something or take photographs of the wilderness. The possibilities are endless and you’ll find yourself discovering happiness as well as relaxation within these activities.

My point isn’t to discourage you or to stop you from using technology, but to control your use so that it doesn’t become an addiction to the point where the only time you are happy is when you’re watching the new episode of Orange is the New Black.

Try a break sometimes; you’ll be amused at what a day without technology can do.