Technology Junkies

When we get bored, we often bury ourselves into our phones or iPods and disappear into the internet. A lot of people, especially members of older generations who haven’t grown up with technology constantly besides them, say that this method of coping with boredom is a form of self inflicted AD/HD. By this, they mean that we can’t handle it when nothing is happening. They think that we can’t deal without having a constant stream of information coming to us. They also mean that we are literally addicted to our mobile devices and computers.

Some of what they say may be true. I’ve noticed that when I am without my phone for a while, I almost go through withdrawls. For example, I recently lost my phone. I was sitting on my couch, doodling, when my friend came in and sat next to me. He pulled out his phone and began scrolling through Facebook, or checking his email, or whatever else he does on his wonderful pocket computer. I instinctively moved my hand to my pocket so I could pull out my phone and do the same. As soon as I remembered that I didn’t have my phone on me, I actually started to feel a little anxious, just because I didn’t have my constant stream of information on me. Every time I got bored, I felt the need to pull out my Android so I could open up Flappy Bird.

Is that need for my phone healthy? Probably not. Is it normal? Maybe. My circle of friends have reported similar feelings towards their phones. I don’t have any hard data on this though, so I really can’t straight up tell you that I’m not an outlier. For all I know, I just might be a tech junkie and everyone else is perfectly adjusted. However, I have the feeling that what I’ve experienced isn’t that out of the norm.

I think that this issue, like most things in life, is one side of a coin. Yeah, we’re all a little dependent on technology. We don’t see outside as much as we probably should. But think about life before we had the internet open to us at any time. There was so much… less. As a species, we were less connected. I can google “China,” and I can pull up thousands of explanations of what living in China is like. Some of it is garbage, some of it is first hand accounts from people who have lived in that nation. We knew less. I can teach myself to program, or I can teach myself math, or chemistry, or another language. There was less data. There was less opportunity to share my experiences, my thoughts. Without technology, you wouldn’t be reading this.

There’s a trade off for all this access. If that trade off is that I like to constantly check Facebook when I’m bored, then so be it. It could be a lot worse. I don’t put myself in harm’s way every time I get bored; I open an app. Is that really so bad?