General Question

marinelife's avatar

Do you think about the ways that technology has changed your life?

Asked by marinelife (62198points) September 27th, 2008

Can you list the three most positive impacts and the three most negative impacts? Is it a good trade-off? Do you worry about your children and the impacts on them?

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20 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

Positive: I am more informed; I am able to watch TV around my schedule; I can always reach someone if I am out and I need/want something.

Negative: I don’t remember phone numbers anymore; I spend time looking up useless or unneeded information; I spend less time in the real world, with real people (though that’s not always bad).

I’d say my life is better now, and I am happier now, but whether or not that is due to technology, I can’t say.

cak's avatar

Positive – I was able to stay in touch with people, easier, while in the hospital for long periods of time. I had my laptop and just went on with life…even did some consulting work!

Positive – I can see (instantly) how much damage my husband does when buying new tools…go online and see the balance drop in our account…drastically! ;)

Positive – I have several friends that live overseas and it is so much easier to communicate with them – internet, digital phone…so many things!

Negative – There is always a damn phone ringing somewhere! I do mandate OFF phone hours!

Negative – I seem to lose my husband, in the evening to his laptop. Mind you, he’s in the same room, but he’s lost to the internet. Usually scoping out some new tool he wants or a car to buy to restore.

Negative – Letters. I love a hand written letter! Not a typed and printed letter…actual pen to paper, letter. We’ve lost the fine art sending letters. :(

marinelife's avatar

@cak Letters are toast. It breaks my heart. I loved to get them and write them. I have voluminous correspondence from my youth. I also love epistolary books. Did you ever read 84 Charing Cross Road?

poofandmook's avatar

Pros: I’ve been able to reach people I haven’t seen or heard from since I was 9. I can look up the town I used to live in, that I miss dearly (Holland, Michigan), and drool over their Tulip Time festival. I can spend endless hours reading and learning things; I never got the chance to go to college and the opportunities to go back seem to keep slipping through my fingers. I used to have the ability to confidently say that I was smart… can’t do that anymore. At least I can still learn about nearly any subject I choose now. I especially like trying to figure out new crochet patterns (I can’t read them to save my life, but I try, and sometimes it works)

Cons: Extended computer usage gives me too many excuses to not do things I should, like laundry, cleaning, exercise. Couple that with my back pain, and I really find ways to avoid exercise. I couldn’t tell you what my dad’s new house number is, or my own work number, or even my roommate/landlord’s cell phone is. I also think that the dependence on technology, especially the cell phone, causes excess anxiety when it’s unavailable. For instance… when I forget my cell phone in the morning, I’m anxious all day about driving without it… or what family or home emergencies I could be missing because I don’t have it.

these are just a few, of course.

fireside's avatar

Pros:
~Information at the fingertips (i kneel before our Google overlords)
~DVR (no more missing shows or missing events to watch shows)
~Enhanced Creativity (due to small storage devices and intuitive programs)
~Remote connectivity (i work from home in NY, but have clients in FL, CA, and in between)

Cons:
~I sometimes forget to go outside and enjoy the sunshine
~I can, at times, block out most human interaction using DVR, computer and ipod
~Aren’t those two enough?

I don’t have kids, but I plan to instill allotted times for them so that they get their fill of other activities. When you are young, it is important to explore everything and go out to experience the world and learn from your success and failures.

@Marina – I never read 84 charing cors road, but have you seen the Griffin and Sabine series? Those could probably be characterized as epistolary, i think.

augustlan's avatar

Pros: Making popcorn is a snap!
News in a flash.
Knowing where my children are.

Cons: Being accessible all the damn time.
Procastination to the Nth degree.
More, and better electronics to buy and repair day by day.

krose1223's avatar

Pros: Easier to be informed. Easier to get help in an emergency. Easier to keep in touch in long distnace relationships.

Cons: Many things are taken for granted. Obesity. Easier to be stalked.

cak's avatar

@marina – I haven’t, but I’ll look into it! I’m looking for a new book, anyway! Thank you for the suggestion.

My husband still leaves me notes and letters. I swear, it’s better than flowers and even jewelry. I just really enjoy a letter. I save all of them! I tease him and tell him we’ll be like John and Abigail Adams…they wrote so many letters, about everything. I doubt our letters are as profound – but they are loving.

wildflower's avatar

Pros:
– Easy to obtain knowledge without first hand experience (i.e. learn about foreign places)
– Easy to stay in touch over great distances (dread to think of my phone bill without Skype)
– Increases productivity. No matter if you’re creative, logical or other, technology gives you tools to do more than you could without.

Cons:
– Dependency. Because using tech. like mobile phones and computers offers an easier way to do so many things, it’s easy to forget the alternatives. One example is my inability to write by hand….the absence of spellchecker and the penmanship make the result absolutely shocking!
– Steals from face-to-face interaction (not saying replaces, but it’s so easy to drop someone a chat rather than going to see them)
– Environment. Lets face it, much of the technology we enjoy, isn’t the most environmentally friendly to manufacture or dispose of.

I don’t have kids, so I don’t have an immediate concern about the effects on the younger generations, but see my first ‘con’ point….

windex's avatar

Sorry for not following the 3 +/- rule but lets just say I never thought I’d be interacting with a lifeless machine most of my life…

SuperMouse's avatar

Pros:

1. No more having to pull out multiple volumes of The Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature to do research.
2. Online yellow pages, I never could keep track of the phone book.
3. Message boards and boards such as Fluther that help me connect with people all over the world who I otherwise would not have known existed.

Cons:

1. $20 a month to remain connected.
2. As Cak and Marina said, letters are history. All I ever get in the mail are bills and junk.
3. The temptation to give in and have entirely too much screen time, and not enough time interacting with human beings.

krose1223's avatar

Let’s not forget about medical advances. (pro…obviously)

wundayatta's avatar

The two best parts of my life: my daughter, age 12, and my son, age 8, would not exist without technology.

That’s all.

Bri_L's avatar

Pros~
1. My industry sucked the big hand set type wanker before computers
2. I am more organized
3. better at communicating with friends and family
4. spelling, as bad as it is, is WAY better

Cons~
1. A little addicting
2. I will keep thinking on this…

tWrex's avatar

Pros:
1. I have every learning possibility at my fingertips. I can learn anything I want almost instantaneously.
2. It got me interested in how things work in a different manner. Instead of questioning how it works with a hands-on mentality, I question how I can make it better from a software/hardware mentality.
3. It reconnected my wife and myself.
Cons:
1. I spend more time on the computer doing useless things looking up useless information (like @tinyfaery said).
2. I sometimes get too engrossed in what I’m doing so I neglect things like folding the laundry or playing with the pup (although my dog is quick to remind me it’s time to play and gets me off of it to play).
3. I take on more tech projects than I can manage and don’t get them done in a timely manner. I find something that’s interesting and run with it, but in the middle of that one I find something else that looks cooler. That’s my techno love affair, ADD and programming side conflicting with my stick-to-it-ness. In the non-digital world I pretty much finish anything I start fairly quickly. It’s just in my digital haven that I have the issue.

I’d say it’s an ok trade-off. I have so much more knowledge about a plethora of subjects now than I ever could have had, had we not had the internet. As far as how it will affect my children…

I think it will be different for each person. For instance: My in-laws children have all the opportunities to improve themselves and their grades at their fingertips. I have put any and every program onto their computers to help them achieve the best goals they can, yet the only thing they do is go on myspace. I got them the Rosetta Stone stuff because the youngest was having a hard time in French. He’s opened it once. How do you pass up that opportunity?

My children (I hope), will take advantage of the technical things that they have available to them because I’ll be teaching them how to use their resources at a younger age. My hope is that it will better them and make them more learned than myself. My Father did it with me (he got an old computer from my Uncle that a hospital was throwing out. It sucked, but I learned how to use an Apple IIe when I was 12.) and now I fix his computer. I taught him how to use linux a few months ago and he was stoked and so was I. I want my kids to be teaching me how to “properly” use google in 15 years. I want them to yell at me because I’m not using my ipod the right way. I want them to be better for the information that they have at their fingertips instead of taking it for granted – like most of the youth I see do – and chalking it up to something they’ll learn someday. My brother-in-law wants to be a programmer, but doesn’t understand basic. Hell, he still can’t use google to find the things he needs! Ugh. sorry it’s so long

LauraK's avatar

One thing I want to know is how sure are we that we can trust the information we find on the net?
One way that technology has changed my life is that I am suspicious that pictures have been manipulated, news is being distributed by unknowns and could be made up and people represent themselves as someone they are not. And its given the predators a venue for pursuing victims.

tinyfaery's avatar

When has the dissemination of information not been edited, censored, and biased?

LauraK's avatar

@tinyfaery you’re so right but its harder to know when something has been altered the more sophisticated the technology have becomes. And while people have always misrepresented themselves and there have always been grifters and cheats, now they can change their physical description as in a 50 y/o saying he or she is a teenager.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’ve seen the name ‘jerry lewis’ come up on numerous occasions, and i always just kind of “hah. yeah.”‘d it because it seemed like general knowledge.
today, i used the wonderful technology that is the internet to go on the incredible invention that is wikipedia. i feel like i understand a lot more about life now (;

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