Blessing or Curse?
A driver loses control of his car and hits a utility pole, seriously injuring a passenger. Immediately, he uses his cell phone to call for help. But why did he lose control? He momentarily took his eyes off the road to answer his phone.
AS THIS example illustrates, the products of modern technology can be either a blessing or a curse—the choice depends on us. Few people, though, would prefer to go back to the comparatively crude products of yesteryear. Computers, for example, spare us tedious tasks, enable us to buy and bank conveniently online, and help us keep in touch with others by e-mail, voice mail, or video link.
Not too long ago, family members would go their various ways in the morning and not speak to one another again until evening. But now, “70% of couples in which both partners have cellphones contact each other daily just to say hello, 64% contact each other to coordinate schedules, and 42% of parents contact their children daily using a cellphone,” says a report in USA Today.
Do Not Let an Asset Become a Liability
Can the excessive or improper use of technology be harmful mentally and physically? Consider the example of two newlyweds in one Western land. According to a news report, they “were on the phone constantly—in their cars, at the gym, even calling each other from different rooms inside their own house.” At times, they accrued 4,000 minutes—more than 66 hours—a month, and they said that they could not cope without their phones. They have the “classic signs of addiction,” noted Dr. Harris Stratyner, a mental-health specialist. “It’s like they are having a relationship through an object.”
That example may seem extreme, but it reflects a worrisome trend. For many people, the thought of being out of contact for even an hour is unbearable. “We always need to check out e-mail, we always need to be on the Internet, we always have to be on instant messaging with our friends,” said one woman in her 20’s.
If being connected “takes up more and more of your time and it becomes the preferred activity in your life to the exclusion of everything else, that’s the surest warning signal that something is not quite right,” says Dr. Brian Yeo in The Business Times of Singapore. Moreover, people who closet themselves away for hours on end with their gadgets often get little if any exercise and risk developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or some other serious condition.
Other dangers are more immediate. In regard to cell phones, for instance, a recent study concluded that motorists who talk on either handheld or hands-free devices are as impaired as drunk drivers! Texting while driving can also be lethal, and one survey found that approximately 40 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 27 text while behind the wheel. Moreover, if you are tempted to use a cell phone to talk or text while driving, keep in mind that should you have an accident, the police and your insurance company may check your cell-phone use in the moments leading up to the crash. A phone call or a simple text message can prove to be very costly! * An investigation into a 2008 train wreck that cost 25 lives in California, U.S.A., revealed that the engineer had sent a text message seconds before the crash. He never even applied the brakes.
Because a growing number of children use cell phones and computers, as well as entertainment media, they need to learn to use these devices wisely and responsibly. How can they be helped? Please read the following article.
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Is being connected taking up more and more of your time?