A weird phenomenon is happening right at this moment in Cleveland, and beyond.
I’m seeing some of you on your smartphones more often than the students in my classes, especially the freshmen. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, you heard right.
I’m not saying, however, that students aren’t going to their iPads or laptops to surf the net … because they are, but some of you are really using your devices to unreasonable levels and are starting to be where they were about two years back: Approaching the Robotic Stage of the Human Robot Cycle Model.
How do I know this? I’m watching you! Well, let me explain.
First of all, most of you now have a smartphone, maybe two. What was old technology is now being adopted even by people like you, my dad and my mom. By the way, my parents are baby boomers and use their smartphones more often than a college student.
My mom, for example, posts five times a day on Facebook and comments on people’s posts multiple times a day, six days a week. Thank goodness she takes the sabbath off!
My dad has six smartphones, three tablets, four laptops, and wants to buy more electronics because, you know, it is the right thing to do these days. He is semi-retired as a corporate executive. I wonder what will happen when he “retires.” Well, I doubt he ever will.
“How can that happen?” you may be asking. “Why are older people getting so addicted to the same tools their grandkids are using these days?”
See? When we produced propaganda campaigns to assist teenagers and young adults with using technology in moderation, we left you out! Why? Well, because you are baby boomers and baby boomers just don’t use technology. At least, that was the assumption.
Yeah, right. Of course you do, but you were much more reasonable than the kids back in 2015. Things are changing, though. Most of you aren’t addicted to technology, but I’ve seen a big increase in technology use among the baby boomers and beyond.
Is it a bad thing? I think it is a bit bad, yes. In the Human Robot Cycle, we know that the more a subject interacts with a computerized device, the more robotic they become without even realizing it. You were not made to be a robot in behavior! Therefore, using all these technologies excessively can be quite bad for you.
You know me. I’m not against technology. I like to use technology, but in moderation. That is, using technology isn’t a bad thing, as long as technology is used in moderation.
Listen to me: Technology can be addictive, and you aren’t free from its threats. Remember: We are what we do many times. If people choose to be on the computer all the time, even if that person is you, chances are very high that the user will suffer the consequences of technology overuse, no matter what.
We live in a weird world where advances in technology are making even the old young again.
Second, we do live in a technopoly. In the U.S. of A., we pride ourselves on being technologically savvy and for being innovators in everything we do. There’s some truth to that, but just don’t forget that we all pay a price for being connected all the time, even after retirement.
In a technopoly, where technology is seen as a god, people are living longer and consequently many are working until death, in part because of technology. Don’t believe me? Ask your neighbor if he is really retired! I bet he isn’t, completely. Technology extends our working days until we die – for the sake of technology.
You may agree or disagree with how I’m going to end this column, and that’s fine. But many baby boomers today are a byproduct of modern technologies because use among your age group has increased exponentially because the “no-tech use” propaganda wasn’t directed at you.
I’m concerned, I must add. What will happen if a critical mass of 55-plus year-olds start spending six hours a day on a smartphone, wasting time?
Look, our kids need you to help them to be better people. Please don’t lose track of what is important! Use technology but in moderation. Your grandkids will thank you.
——— (article previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)
(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at luiscalmeida.info.)