Generations together

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Alexis Bentz
Technology takes toll on young and old



When you hear the word technology, what do you think of?  Probably not the same thing as someone my age (12) thinks. The fact is that the generations may look at technology in very different ways. 

Many kids think that technology is “cool” because not only does it make them more popular, it allows them to play video games, contact others, and express themselves at any time. On the other hand, there are plenty of kids with no access to technology whatsoever or who find it unnecessary. 

Meanwhile, some older adults don’t own, approve of, or even understand anything technology-related, while others use a laptop, smartphone and iPad regularly.

Whatever their experience, people of every age have an opinion on technology — whether it is good, bad, ugly or addictive — and no matter what that opinion is, technology takes a toll on everyone in some way. 

Many kids spend a lot of time on smartphones and computers. Technology allows us to contact others in emergencies, get our work done anywhere we want, and allows us to have some fun. I am no exception: I wrote this column on my laptop while listening to music on my phone!

Meanwhile, many people feel that although smartphones and computers are very beneficial, it means that no matter where they are, their work and contacts follow them. Even vacation time can be negatively affected.

There is also the issue of cyber-bullying. People post and write mean things about others on social media sites, and the humiliating photos, comments or lies they post can be very hurtful. Sometimes people forget that once you post something, you can’t take it back.

This isn’t just an issue when it comes to cyber bullying. If you apply for a job, chances are the company will do a background check…and you might miss out on a chance to work because of a photo or comment you posted long ago.

Not only that, but using digital devices can also be dangerous! Texting while driving or crossing the street can lead to serious accidents. 

Technology can affect relationships, too. When my family dines out, I hate seeing other families sitting around the table spending time on their mobile devices when they could be spending time with each other.

There is also “good progress” vs. “bad progress.” Some believe that technology is great because we are moving forward and getting bigger and better each time.

Others argue that our production, as well as use, of devices can have a negative impact on the Earth and its people. For example, many computers and other electronic devices use energy when plugged in, even if we’re not “using” them. Also, when you dispose of them, toxic substances can sometimes get into the soil or water from their components.

No matter what you think on this subject, you should always be a responsible citizen: Turn off your technology when it isn’t in use, and dispose of your devices and their batteries in a safe, eco-friendly way.

Do you have grandchildren or great-­grandchildren? A great thing to do is use Skype or Face Time to communicate with them. These programs allow you to see and hear others through a computer or phone screen. 

If you don’t know how to use these features, have your grandchildren show you! This is a great way to bond with family members, especially if you live far away from each other. 

However, it is good to remember that you shouldn’t let technology rule your life. Always try to make time to see your relatives in person, or write them a letter if you can. 

As you can see, even when you’re comfortable with technology and understand it, it still isn’t simple!