The use of technology is so ubiquitous to present day society that its usage is attributable to nearly 70% of an average person’s day with the remaining percentage going towards eating, sleeping and miscellaneous other activities (Sehgal, 24 – 27). Technology has in effect changed the landscape of human actions; it has enabled better methods of communication, more convenient forms of transportation, better methods of collaboration and finally a far easier lifestyle for most people.
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Based on this it can be said that due to the introduction of modern technology to the human lifestyle, changes have occurred in both the behavioral and cognitive responses of various populations. As such it can be said that the use of technology creates cognitive and behavioral changes which in effect changes the way people perceive and interact behaviorally and socially due to the amount of time devoted to technology related activities.
People have begun to spend more time doing non-productive activities resulting in more time wasted per day within a given year. For example, on average people in 1st world countries such as the U.S., Canada U.K. spend an average of 3 hours a day watching TV, this results in 21 hours in a week, 84 hours in a month and 1008 in a given year (Oder et al. 1998, 15).
These surprising numbers are only beaten by the growing proliferation of internet usage with people on average spend nearly 4 hours a day online resulting in 1,344 hours in a given year. While many may argue against such assertions the fact remains that the 1008 hours used watching television or the 1,344 hours spent online is evidence of an incredible amount of wasted time that could have been devoted to better and more productive activities.
Activities such as watching TV and using computers promote a growing degree of social isolation within various populations since these are activities which don’t require other people to be accomplished. An analysis of current trends in human behavior show that there is a growing percentage of people that prefer to stay indoors to watch TV or use a computer as compared to 3 decades ago.
This change in human behavior is related to the fact that as technology has continued to grow over the years so to has its inherent capacity to provide various forms of entertainment. On average people with cable TV connections have access to nearly a hundred or so channels from which they can choose a variety of programs to entertain themselves compared to the situation in the 1950’s to 1970’s when there were fewer than 10 channels to choose from.
Computers have also come a long way since their inception during the mid 1900’s resulting in a higher degree of commercialization, better graphics and access to the internet which can provide an almost limitless amount of information to the common user. As a result of such developments people find it almost unnecessary to directly interact with people resulting in a growing degree of social isolation among the populace.
The proliferation of entertainment media on TV, the use of cellphones, listening to music on iPods as well as other daily forms of technological immersion has actually resulted in a form of “technology addiction” where people seem to prefer using technology compared to direct social interaction.
One clear example of technology addiction can be seen in South Korea, one of the gaming capitals in the world, where people often play 12 hours or more on the popular game Starcraft 2. Several studies and documentaries examining the extent of addiction in such settings show that the responses selected subjects gave regarding playing the popular game are similar to those given by drug addicts (Drezner 2010, 35).
On the other hand the topic of TV addiction has already been explored by numerous studies with nearly all of them showing that people obsessed with TV develop similar behavioral responses to people suffering from obsessive compulsive syndrome where they can’t help but watch TV due to a form of compulsion similar to addiction (Horvath 2004, 380 – 385).
Based on the findings of this paper it can be seen that with the benefits of technology also comes the negative aspects of addiction, isolation and wasted time. While it is uncertain how society will continue to look like as technology continues to evolve and change it is certain that if the current implications of technology are to continue humanity will one day be an overly isolated society so addicted to technology that social contact will become a rarity.
Drezner, Daniel W. 2010. “Weighing the Scales: The Internet’s Effect On State-Society Relations.” Brown Journal of World Affairs 16, no. 2: 31-44. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost .
Horvath, Cary W. 2004. “Measuring Television Addiction.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 48, no. 3: 378-398. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost .
Oder, Norman, Evan St. Lifer, and Michael Rogers. 1998. “New Survey Says Web Use Growing.” Library Journal 123, no. 16: 15. Literary Reference Center, EBSCOhost .
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Sehgal, Parul. 2010. “Here Comes Clay Shirky.” Publishers Weekly 257, no. 24: 24-27. Literary Reference Center, EBSCOhost .