Another blog post about the dark side (and good) of technology

Many people are fighting back against the use of computers, tablets, social media, and newer technologies. Usually using new media to send these messages.
There are real problems created by technology but there are also real solutions. And the solution is not to avoid technology completely or to ignore it but to limit certain uses that become bad habits or unsafe.
“phubbing” or phone snubbing is nothing new and came long before smart phones. Just the word is new (and maybe the problem and awareness is greater). When there are other people around (or even when they aren’t) you don’t want to be constantly distracted by your phone doing things that aren’t related to what is around you.
I had personally some trouble with this. I’m not sure how much it bothered other people, It actually caused extra headaches looking down at the small phone screen for too long (reading paper can do the same thing for me but worse).
To help reduce constantly being interrupted by my smart phone and to increase battery life and save money: I took the following steps. (some may be extreme)

  • Turn off alerts except for the most important items. (these will vary by your preference) I turn off alerts for email since I only check it often. Turn off alerts for Facebook except for direct messages.
  • dropped the cellular data package and only use wifi, texting, and less than 300 minutes
  • relay phone calls with my smart phone (iPhone)  through my (Mac) computer. I also do video calls more with my computer than phone.
  • gps turned off most time
  • turned off clock updates
  • turn off blue tooth
  • got rid of head phones
  • kept cable but got rid of wall adapter and use a surge protector with built in USB instead
  • turn off background refresh for apps I don’t use often, and since I have wifi only – leave it on for the apps I check often such as the weather – sometimes when I get away from my network I am still able to see a cached version
  • turn off the phone while I sleep, while watching a movie, or at meeting (unless I’m looking at my phone for notes)
  • Use Do not disturb feature on the iPhone
  • Use timed forwarding with google voice.
  • Got rid of car and usually my phone is quiet enough I don’t hear while walking or biking.

On my computer

  • I set it to turn off or go to sleep automatically at night
  • I leave laptop and phone (tablet) unplugged from power except when it needs charging.
  • I use reminders on my computer and phone to help remind me of things I need to get done during the day such as brush my teeth and eat breakfast. Sometimes also called to do list. Microsoft one note is another program with this capability. I also use reminders as a paperless shopping list.  Some stores have their own app for shopping lists but it is usually specific to their store.
  • I use a computerized calendar on my computer and phone to remind me of appointments and birthdays (using contact info).

Do computers cause more testing of students in schools?
No, but computers allow testing to be done more easily so it is a factor. It is one of those things that people need to set limits on what they do whether it is computerized or not.
What about social media?
There are both good and bad things about social media so you have to be careful how you use it.  There are many extreme hurtful viewpoints, so you will want to be careful about what you post. Will you be ok with your neighbor, grandparent, parent, child or grandchild seeing what you post?
Also be careful who you follow, and whether you or your children sign up for social media accounts. Children should be at least 13 for social media or email accounts, possibly older.
Does social media make people more or less social in everyday life? Again this is another thing that depends on how it is used. In my personal case it has made me more social both with social media and in the real world. But if all you are doing is playing games, reading long articles, and videos non-stop it can make someone less social.
Does computerization make people learn less or more? I tend to think more. Since computers can be highly adaptive, it can enable people with disabilities or simply those that need extra help do more. It may be a little less memorization and sometimes less hands on, but again this will all vary by individual.
Are computers good or bad for the envioronment?
The answer is both.
Computers, tablets, smart tvs, smart phones all take materials and energy to make and use. If not recycled properly the chemicals and materials they are made from can also be bad for the environment.
However the things that these devices have replaced actually can be beneficial for the environment since you are using less energy and able to perform certain tasks faster. Smart phones and computers have essentially combined many different tools into one complex device. Typewriters, film cameras, photo copiers, paper mail, driving to deliver information have all been reduced and sometimes eliminated.
The portability of newer electronics can also help reduce the weight that people carry.

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