Too Much Technology? Here’s a Modest Test

I had a very enjoyable breakfast meeting yesterday with two friends and former colleagues who I worked with at BFGoodrich and Kent State. Not a computer or a BlackBerry in sight. Just coffee and conversation. Wow. Real life unplugged.

I understand the virtues and benefits of the technology that allows us to send and receive information and updates 24/7. Hey, I couldn’t work from home without a computer, Internet access, e-mail and so on. And I guess my life would be diminished in some small way if I didn’t know via Twitter that someone had just checked in at some venue somewhere for coffee or whatever. Still, I’m not convinced that it is a good thing to be connected all the time. Saying that, every time my BlackBerry buzzes these days I’m compelled to stop what I’m doing and check the latest text message, e-mail or news update.

Am I hooked on technology? Are you?

The NYT has several informative articles and blog posts on this issue this week. Here’s an excerpt from one — “Are You Hooked on Technology?” — by Tara Parker-Pope:

For many people, technology is not only changing the way they work and communicate, it’s changing their personality. Here are some questions that can help you determine if technology is taking a toll on you. The questions are adapted from a self-assessment test found on NetAddiction.com, developed by Kimberly Young, a professor at St. Bonaventure University in western New York State who has led research on the addictive nature of online technology.

  • Do you frequently form new relationships with fellow online users?
  • Do others in your life often complain about the amount of time you spend using technology?
  • Do you always check your e-mail messages before doing other things?
  • When you’re online and someone needs you, do you usually say “just a few more minutes” before stopping?
  • Have you ever chosen to spend time online rather than going out with others?

Clearly, we aren’t going to turn the clock back when it comes to online technology. But something tells me that we are going to start to question how much is too much and whether we really do need to share as much personal and other information as we do. And do we really need to be connected to family, friends, employers and others 24/7?

Hey, just heard the buzz from my BlackBerry.

It can wait.

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4 responses to “Too Much Technology? Here’s a Modest Test

  1. nice article!!! very well written!! i just wanted today to read something interesting and i found your blog and i am glad to found it!!!

  2. Hello,

    I was intrigued by your writing and thought you may be able to help me find information. I am currently a student and we are having a debate on
    ” should students be allowed to use electronic devices in a classroom?” I am not really big on the idea and really think that it is rude to use one during a lecture, but I was assigned to the
    “PRO” team and can not get the flow going. I could use a little help with finding some good factual articles. Can you give me any ideas?

    Thank you,
    Cherie

    • Cherie,

      Hello. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog posts. We’re not going to turn the clock back on the use of technology. Nor should we. But I do think we need to strike some reasonable balance in how we use computers, smart phones and so on. That applies in our personal lives and relationships with others, on the job and in the classroom.

      In the classroom, I’m OK with the use of personal computers for taking notes, research and so on. But the problem is that most people — including me — are inclined to “multitask” and read e-mail, send messages, and search for sites and information not necessarily related to the classroom instruction. I think that’s rude — in a classroom or in a business meeting — and it detracts from the lecture/presentation.

      And I’ve read some articles on this topic but unfortunately didn’t bookmark any of them. As a source for some specific information and commentary you might want to look at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

      Good luck with your project. I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer. It may depend on the class, instructor, subject and so on. But it does raise some important issues for students, faculty and those of us who are starting to consider just how much technology is too much technology.

  3. I’m not convinced either!

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