It has been many years, but once I attended a week-long seminar and one of the classes listed in the catalog was entitled, “Technology: Friend or Foe?” My friend and I laughed and laughed at that. We were really young and couldn’t understand why technology would be a foe to anyone. At a mature age it’s now more evident how technology can be a foe. If it replaces what is really important in life (i.e., family relationships, service, real connections) then technology is obstructing our ability to live life. At the same time, if used in moderation and at the right times it enhances our experience.
We have seen an explosion of gadgets and products that fall under the technology umbrella in recent years. Everything from music players, smartphones and Internet sites have plead for our time and money. Because they are so prevalent they may be viewed as a necessity, but in order to maintain proper perspective we should all view them for what they really are: accessories for life. It doesn’t take much to recognize our dependency on our gadgets–just try avoiding them for a day or two and see how well you fare. Achieving balance is key, and we certainly don’t need to eliminate them completely to make this happen.
With the right purpose, any device or web site can also be used for great good. With the recent traumatic events in Japan, technology has not only allowed people to stay abreast of developments but also to quickly be aware of opportunities to donate and serve. We saw the same thing with the earthquake in Haiti. Twitter was flooded with requests to donate money, blood and other services. Technology’s ability to reach a vast audience at lightning speed is one of the reasons so many have flocked to sign up for accounts. We want connections in real-time. We want connections with people and news on a constant stream.
Of course there is also the ability to find information with little effort as well. This makes technology a great friend in our quest to use our time wisely. With a quick Internet search, one can find information on nearly anything. It’s easy to find where to purchase anything from lumber for a contracting job and a nuclear medicine imaging device. But if the Internet is our friend for saving precious time, what are we doing with the time that is freed up?
Nourishing the relationships in our lives should be our top priority. Technology will always be begging for our time. The difference is the new device won’t care if we put it aside to spend the afternoon at the park. However, the people in your life will.