Staff Editorial: There is no going back on technology

In a couple weeks, you might get the newest iPhone. Around this time three to five years ago, you likely got your first iPhone. 

From that day on, our lives have completely changed, and will likely never be the same.

Nowadays, we all spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at these portable screens. If you’re wondering how bad your addiction is, check the “screen time” statistics in the settings app. 

Being glued to a phone has many negative consequences, most of which you’ve probably heard before.

To start, it immensely decreases attention spans, making it hard to sit for more than an hour reading a book. It takes away valuable minutes and hours of the day that could be used to do something more productive. It is used as an alternative to social interaction, and will likely make you less socially capable.

It is not good for you.

And yet, despite everyone knowing this lecture is just around the corner at any moment, the lecture stating the exact opposite is as well. It is just as taboo to not have your phone constantly on you. 

Parents expect responses from their children within minutes, and use apps like “find my iPhone” to track their children’s whereabouts. Managers from a student’s work grow angry when their phone calls are not answered. It is an expectation from teachers that students check and update their emails after they have left school and before they come in the next day. Despite these being the same people who tell students to get off of technology, they simultaneously rely on us to be attached to it.

Phones have become an extremely integrated part of our lives, especially at Mason high school. Even those who do not take a stance on the issue find themselves affected. Other students get irritated when their Snapchat messages and texts are left unanswered, and we are encouraged to use Twitter to share and hear about the school’s learning achievements. Everywhere, all the time, a person’s phone is expected to be on that person. 

Phones have become a part of us, both in what we choose to spend our time on and in how people think of us. A person is not separate from their phone in our minds at this point; it is abnormal for the pair to be separated.

And so it seems we have all come to a standstill. People want others to both get rid of their connection to technology and satisfy their reliance on it. And while everyone is aware of and willing to concede to the former, the latter is often ignored. So what is the solution? If we admit that it is harmful for us to spend too much time with our phones, but we also cannot separate ourselves from them and function the way we are expected to, where do we turn?

The first step is to acknowledge that we will never “go back to the good old days.” Students are no longer the only ones relying on this technology; the constant and immediate communication it enables has created a way of life that no one has made any attempt to change. With this acknowledgement comes the understanding that “taking a break” from technology, from social media and other forms of communication, is far more daunting a task than people realize and will affect far more people as well. From that understanding, maybe the generational gap of people who later incorporated technology and people who were born into it can come up with a compromise.

There will likely never be a reform that causes teenagers to stop using their phones so much. The only thing to do next is to adapt. The school integrating Twitter is one example of this, along with the incorporation of online sources for homework purposes. Even Schoology messages are a form of social-media-like communication, which shows that adaptation is happening. If people are going to use their phones for an unhealthy amount of time, the only thing to do is to increase the capabilities of that time.

But this hypocritical superiority complex has to stop. In today’s society, no one is not guilty of relying on technology for day-to-day function. We are in this together, and the sooner we stop expecting people to do two things at once, the sooner we can move past this standstill and forward, to new opportunities to communicate and inform one another.