The Wild Wild Tech

Countless times throughout the day, I turn on my TV just to see what’s on. I play videogames when I’m bored and mindlessly surf the Web to kill time. Like people across the globe, technology has played an increasingly large role in my life, particularly my free time. With the rising amount of time spent “plugged in,” I sometimes wonder where the line is drawn.

How much technology is too much?

It’s true that when it comes to school or work, technology cannot be avoided; instead it has to be embraced. In our private lives, we do have control of the matter. But we still embrace the technology instead of casting it off. It’s gotten to the point that climbing Mount Everest isn’t necessarily cool, but tweeting about it and posting pictures of the top on Facebook is.

Have we become so ingrained in the virtual world that we simply let the real world pass us by? I can admit that there are many times that I’ve let the nicest of days pass by while I played videogames or watched TV. I don’t consider myself an addict, but I do feel as if the real and technological worlds have become a bit unbalanced.

When I was a kid, my time was spent exploring woods, playing sports and just enjoying the world around me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had less and less free time. As responsibilities pile up, it becomes easier to simply lie back and relax with a movie than to go out and explore new places and try new things. Even scheduling time to workout or play a sport can be difficult. Simply put, technology can be a sure-fire way to put your life in a major rut.

It consumes more time and energy to try new things than to lie back and watch re-runs or continuously check Facebook. When there’s little free time to be had, relaxing can easily become the de facto hobby of choice, and it often involves some form of media or technology.

In my free time, I spend too much time plugged in. However, I’ve also worked hard to pick up new hobbies, try new things and go to different places. Instead of just being sucked in, I’m fighting back. Ironically enough, these new experiences have had a very Newtonian effect. Sure, I’ve accomplished my goal of (slightly) breaking away from technology, but the opposite reaction is that my experiences in the real world often make me appreciate technology in new ways.

If you’ve ever written a letter, you understand why email is so amazing. If you’ve ever played an instrument, you have a completely different perspective of rocking out in Guitar Hero. Our experiences in the real world shape our understanding of media and technology, and our understanding of those effects how we see the world.

It’s a vicious circle of influence.

Each of us has to decide for ourselves where we draw the line in the sand (or the sand in that picture you have in Photoshop). At some point, playing NBA 2K11 for hours has to make you realize that playing an actual game of basketball would be much more fun. Chatting with people on Facebook is a nice distraction, but actually going out with your friends is infinitely more enjoyable.

As spring approaches, there’s no doubt in my mind that the electronics will soon be turned off more and more. When the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, you won’t catch me tweeting about it.