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Has our technology obsession gone too far?

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Has our technology obsession gone too far?

IP1’s Social Affairs Editor Daisy Jones puts her phone on silent for once and asks: Are we obsessed with technology?

What is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night? Check my phone. And that’s not because I’m single and face no more exciting a prospect than a text from my mum saying she’s bought a microwave and a Facebook notification that someone has liked my status about the latest thrilling installment of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. (Well, it might be a contributing factor.) But a recent survey found that most of us spend more time using technology than we do sleeping, which is pretty substantial proof that it’s not just me with the Angry Birds habit.

According to the survey, UK adults spend over 50% of the average waking day on media or communication activity. On average, that’s eight hours and 41 minutes of watching, texting, typing and tweeting. I like a Netflix marathon as much as the next student with too much time on their hands, but still, that seems like a lot. But then I remember I never leave the house without my smartphone, tablet, or mp3 player, and I can see how the minutes add up.

The big question is: Are we obsessed with technology? Well, “obsessed” does sound a bit extreme – the kind of thing you accuse your teenage brother of when he spends three days straight on the latest Call of Duty, emerging from his room only to gather cereal and juice. And it is a bit “disapproving grandparent who talks a lot about the war” to be so negative about technology, when it does so much for us. Just with a smartphone, you can talk to someone who lives miles away, catch up on Corrie, and stalk your ex. If that’s not improving your life, I don’t know what is.

Then again, maybe things would be simpler if we didn’t have to live with the constant fear of running low on battery, or the stress of deciding which Instagram filter makes your selfie look best. If I didn’t constantly have my headphones on I might actually talk to the person sitting next to me on the bus – but then I’d miss out on my Clare Balding podcast, and I’m not sure if I’m prepared to do that.

What do you think? Has our technology obsession gone too far, or is it just a part of 21st-century life? Leave a comment below.

Illustration: JDA


1 Insaf Abbas | on 20 November 2014

Definitely think we’ve become obsessed with technology - I spend a good 15 minutes checking all my social media before getting out of bed each morning and my friends and I are constantly on our phones whether we’re in the house or out for dinner. We have our whole lives on our social media accounts and place so much importance on how we appear to people through a screen. At the same time technology’s helped us out so much and makes it easier to find information - it’s done so much for us. I think the real issue is finding a balance between all this.

2 LucyR | on 20 November 2014

I like this article and I dont think theres anything wrong with texting too much!! so what if i use my phone alot and watch lots of telly ha ha

3 Thursday Bunting | on 20 November 2014

I think Daisy’s right, technology is an integral part of everyday life and can help us stay connected with people and ideas in a way which was just not possible before.  That said, I think it can be a big distraction and take our focus away from experiencing the ‘real’ world - so I’m all for switching off every now and then in the interests of balance!

4 IP1zine | on 20 November 2014

Thanks guys for all your comments. Keep em coming!!

5 Jennifer Meredith | on 20 November 2014

I’m not obsessed with technology; it’s an inherent aid to my professional and personal life.

I don’t require it to function, obviously, but there’s no doubt that it makes functioning substantially simpler, i.e. using a car to get to work, using the internet for research, using a microwave to cook food.

There’s no need to seem negative about technology, and there’s no point - it’s too much a part of lives now to take it away. Keeping a positive mind about it, and using it in the right way, can benefit yourself and others; viewing it as a detrimental aspect of society will only narrow your view of the world, as technology will only ever evolve, not devolve.

6 Emily Godden | on 20 November 2014

I think social media can be mined for a feast of wonderful benefits and opportunities, for example twitter is great for networking! However there is a line, and sitting through the whole of breaking bad leaps over this line.

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