“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.” John Lennon’s iconic words from 1972 still hold true, especially if the possessions are hand-held electronic devices. Whether it’s a cell phone or an iPad the small devices are everywhere. Finding someone who does not own a cell phone is hard to do. The devices are convenient, effective and fun, but are they necessary? Could you go without? Are they impacting people’s ability to communicate without using our thumbs? Do they, and the tens of thousands of applications impede our ability to think for ourselves?
It is becoming noticeable that people are slowly losing those abilities and letting machines or computers do the work for them. People are no longer required to think. If posed with a difficult or even simple problem people will simply “Google” it on an iPhone and the answer is found within seconds. Students are also becoming too dependent on calculators. Instead of using a graphing calculator to solve complex mathematical formulas, students turn to calculators for even simple calculations. Though calculators are important in an evolving world, it is still important for teachers to teach students how to do mental math and reasoning (Metz). Scholars, particularly teen scholars, are no longer required to spell correctly. Words like tomorrow, tonight, and before, become 2morrow, 2night and b4 in playful texting conversation (May). Spell check is also contributing to the downfall of spelling. Too often, people type a word sloppily into a web document and let spell check do the work without even noticing the word was misspelled.
Jo-Ellan Dimitrius writes in her book Reading People ” if you want to become a better communicator, you must make a conscious effort to engage other people in person.” Members of Gen-Y have turned face-to-face interaction into thumb-to-thumb interaction. Through texting, email and Facebook true communication has taken a back seat. With these media, a person could essentially “talk” to someone else but never have an actual verbal conversation. The problem with electronic interaction is emotion, body language, and tone are lost. It is easy to confuse a joking message with a hateful text. Some people are even using email as a way to avoid confrontation during an uncomfortable situation (Blyth).
With every new invention, people become more dependent on technology to think for them. It would be impossible to view the world without the ubiquitous cell phone, laptop, and mp3 player. And, it would be impossible completely do away with these gadgets. The problem is people are letting their gadgets take over their lives and they are not giving an effort anymore. Maybe John Lennon’s lyrics should read “strive for fewer possessions, it’s easier than you think”.
Blyth, Catherine. “We’re losing the delicate art of conversation.” MailOnline Associated Newspapers Ltd, 11/11/2008. Web. 7 Apr 2011
Dimitrius, Jo-Ellan. Reading People. 1st ed. Ballantine Books, 1999. 6. Print.
May, Maggie. “Are people forgetting how to spell?.” Hubpages. N.p. , 2011. Web, 7 Apr 2011
Metz, Lauren. “Are You Too Dependant on Your Calculator?.” Just so you know n. pag. Web. 7 Apr 2011