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How Dependency on Technology Affects the End User

          “Many consider that the focus on IT is undermining some of the work in which schools have traditionally engaged, such as creativity, caring, and physical activity…” (Weare, 2004). It is widely known that humans and technology go hand to hand with each other; as the species evolves, so does technology. The development of everything high-tech can only be met by the demand society places upon it. People become more dependent on the digital world every day; as technology is introduced to make life more, “user-friendly”, society has accepted integration with technology, relinquished physical control, and even suffer from measurable health concerns.

          From smartphones to smart homes, humans grow more dependent on technology every day.  As society becomes more integrated with technology; cell phones and other electronic devices become stables in social ranking, and may define your status within the group (Weare, 2004).  It is easy to be considered technologically disadvantaged by a social group, simply by not having the latest cellular device. In a world that demands mobile applications to simplify daily activities, one must continue to stay up to speed on current technology. “Mobile applications, online services, e-government and social media have gained ground as contact interfaces for daily use, meaning that all citizens must have a minimum ability to use computer-related devices.” (Immonen & Sintonen, 2015, p. 589). It is important that humans understand the effects of depending on technology so heavily, inadvertently increasing their footprint in the digital world.

          Therefore, it has become standard operating procedure (SOP) to grant control over the physical layer of human life to these devices. Digital deadbolts, security alarms, and keyless remote entry systems all the rage. As “high-tech” as the world of technology is, people have grown accustomed to the digital aspect of daily life, not thinking about the primary concern of their digital footprint. For example, it is socially acceptable to have a digital signature, to sign a legally binding contract, without physically being present; taking the physical layer out of the situation. The removal of the physical layer opens the human population to identify theft; as social security number, driver license, and even one’s address can be found online. All one has to do is hijack a digital persona to impersonate anyone they wish; photo identification cards are a thing of the past, it is all about the “ones” and “zeros” of the digital world. Technology is most often used by the young, and that may prove to be dangerous to their weak, susceptible minds. (Weare, 2004). On the other hand, the more elderly population didn’t grow up with such technology and the internet of things. Consequently, those of this generation are less likely to be willing to use computer-related devices (Immonen & Sintonen, 2015). Technology has been granted so much control over human life; it is only a matter of time before society demands that all are microchipped to prevent identity theft and other online threats. Ironically, society will give up more control to the powers that be, just to feel a little more secure in an ever growing, unsafe, digital world.

          Furthermore, the impact of long-term dependency on technology raises its concerns; there is an equal and opposite reaction to everything. Blue light, which is emitted from most electronic screens, has been known to cause issues with the human eye; the light will cause one’s eye site to diminish. According to “Blue Light Has A Dark Side” (2015), ” Light at night is bad for your health, and exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient light bulbs may be especially so”. Immonen and Sintonen (2015) Physical impairments such as poor eyesight may form restrictions, which could diminish the want to use technology, or even make it impossible to do so. Amongst other health concerns, one must consider social anxiety; in which case, people would prefer to use digital means to communicate with each other rather than getting up, and visiting with their peers; as a matter of fact, this method is preferred over physical interactions. There are those that will argue the social advantages to technology, however, “IT is said to induce aggressive behavior and destroy healthy social bonds which may inhibit such behavior. There are concerns about addiction, e.g. to computer games, chat rooms, and texting on mobile phones” (Weare, 2004, p. 130).  As new technology is introduced, society will continue to intergrade with it, causing more, and more health concerns; so many fears that it is impossible to speak about all of them. Society simply needs to open their eyes to ever-growing concerns and acknowledge that continued dependency on technology, may cause more notable health issues within the human population.

          As dependency on the technology world grows, people may find they are no longer in control. Society is so accepting of the integration, that the demand to be connected to everything, will naturally increase over time. With the developing world of everything technology, life, as it is known today, in a short time, will not be recognizable by anyone. Remember the Y2K bug; it wasn’t planned for, and it nearly crashed everything. What is not being accounted for this time?

References:

Immonen, M., & Sintonen, S. (2015). Evolution of technology perception over time. Information Technology & People, 28(3), 589-606. doi:10.1108/ITP-12-2013-0219

Weare, K. (2004). What impact is information technology having on our young people’s health and well-being? Health Education, 104(3), 129-131. doi:10.1108/09654280410544963

Harvard Health Publications – Harvard Medical School. (September 2, 2015). Blue light has a dark side. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

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