Saturday, 23 May 2015

[Straits Times] Don't let technology control your life

RECENT technological advancements have had a vast impact on our lives in the last few decades.
Given the efficiency and convenience that they have brought about, many would think that we should be feeling happier than before. However, the idea of happiness has greatly changed in line with the technological advancements.
Technology has created a virtual world where instant happiness can be found instead of the actual happiness that we get by working hard and tasting the fruits of success.
In the past, people are happy when they achieve success after working hard and when they are spending time with their family members.
However, today, social media websites such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat offer instant happiness to users through the number of followers and likes they get on the sites.
Happiness now seems dependent on our popularity.
At times, some people have endangered themselves or hurt others online. Each year, schools conduct lessons regarding cyber wellness and encourage students to turn on their privacy settings.
But many online bullies continue their actions because they derive joy from doing so.
The number of cyber bullying cases has been increasing in recent years, not just in Singapore but in the rest of the world too ("1 in 4 secondary students admit to cyber bullying"; July 21, 2014). This is a result of technology's wide reach and provision of instantaneous responses.
In other cases, people feel happy when they see hundreds of "likes" on their Instagram photos and they post more often to attract followers. Soon, it turns into an addiction, wherein people take photos just to post them on Instagram.
Many of my friends and I just scroll through the feed and "like" all the photos posted by our friends without looking at the description or anything else, raising the question of whether the photographers are making good use of their time.
This should not be the definition of happiness.
Children are now exposed to technology at a much younger age, possibly as early as they can speak. This is a worrying problem because it is not clear whether technology is doing us more good or harm.
While we should utilise technology, we should never let technology control our lives.
Jong Ching Yee (Ms)