So, I watched ‘My Great Big Adventure’ on ABC3 yesterday, which was about ‘tech-addiction’, and it got me thinking a bit. It was all pretty much things I’d heard before, but I never really thought about how it applied to me. You probably haven’t either.
‘My Great Big Adventure‘ is a show aired infrequently and irregularly on ABC3, which aims to deal with common problems in the lives of kids that are likely to be watching ABC3 (any age up to ~18 years old). I think this is a great idea straight up, and when I heard they were going to do an episode on technology I was excited to see what they were going to cover.
I’m a real advocate for technology, but for the safe and wary use of it. I was part of a anti-bullying group in high school, and was also part of the Australian Government’s Youth Advisory Group (Y@G), so I’m pretty aware of all the bad stuff related to technology and the internet out there. As they went through various stories of the low points of online gaming and social networking, I just nodded my head. “Yep, heard that one before,” I thought to myself. Same with the advice, “oh, that’s a good one…I told what’s-his-name that one.” I considered all these things outside of me.
But as I sat there, my mum came in a few times, and as they would mention something like the signs of ‘tech-addiction’, she would scoff or make a noise in a way that made me feel that, without words, she was implying that was me. I automatically was defensive about this. “I’m not like that. I don’t spend hours every day on MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) or any type of video game really. I don’t spend all my time on Facebook. I hardly look at it at all.” But that made me think about it more seriously. “Am I’m really like that? Well, I do spend hours on the computer sometimes, with not much to show for it. And I do sometimes watch tonnes of videos on YouTube, but…I’m not addicted.”
I thought back to times that I could think of when I had been like that. I remember in year seven, a few of my friends were in to Runescape, which is a free MMORPG. They were always talking about it so much, so I joined up too. I’ve always been pretty hopeless at those types of games and never had the patience for something like an MMO, but I use to play for up to 4 hrs on a Friday night. I never really enjoyed it that much, but I played anyway, hating it and myself for wasting my time on something I disliked so much. In primary school, I had played Neopets, which was a MMO in a way too, and had been really addictive especially around Christmas time with its Advent Calender of freebies. But I gave up on both of these eventually, because I could see that they were a waste of time and were more frustration than they were worth.
Thing is, addiction to a video game is relatively obvious. It’s specific, you’re always on that game. But general technology addiction, I think, is more rife than we realise. It can include any technology, from games to social media, from vlogs to news feeds, from nifty apps to recorded TV. In a way, it’s accepted in today’s society, and is almost encouraged. From your desktop to your laptop, from your netbook to your tablet, and even to your phone; you’re always connected. You can always check in, check up, and check out whatever, whenever, and where ever you want. It’s promoted as being a way to be social, be productive, to have fun and relax. Now this may sound great initially, but when it interferes with the rest of your life, or even becomes your life…that’s not so good.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. I eat, breathe, live technology, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t give me nightmares. I guess I’ve always been old fashioned in that I’ve never really liked the idea of being dependant on technology. I don’t like the concept of technology being everywhere and everything in our lives. I guess that’s why I still buy CD, and why I treasure floppy disks and cassettes. I just imagine a post-apocalyptic world where all Google’s servers are down and the only way that I can play my favourite tunes is with a boombox.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, technology is a central part of so many people’s lives now, and if you’re reading this, you’re more than likely one of them. The world of technology is constantly growing so quickly, and it ‘s easy to get sucked into the trap of not just one form, but the trap that many forms of technology create together. This means that you need to, just every now and then, step back and take count of the effect technology’s having on your life. Don’t let it rule you, and don’t be fooled into thinking that this doesn’t apply to you. Until the day every man on earth is born a cyborg, there is no reason to rely on technology.
P.S. I’m yet to get any suggestions, so if you’ve got any ideas for a better sign off line than “Post again soon,” or “Until next time,” drop me a line, and there will be a prize in it for the one I choose!