Were ‘The Good Old Days’ Better Than Today’s Technological Age?

Recently I wrote a post about whether or not modern childhood is being ruined by social media. In it, I compared childhoods past and present and discussed why older generations believe it was better ‘back in their day’. This week’s debate in EDTC 400 followed closely behind that previous week’s topic, however, this week we expanded the topic beyond childhood to life in general. The topic in full was whether or not we have become too dependent on technology and we’d be better off returning to the ‘good old days. Our debaters were Jayden and Kiera. Jayden argued for the topic while Kiera argued against it.

Proposition: We Have Become Too Dependent on Technology and We’d Be Better Off Returning to the “Good Old Days” Before the Internet and Smartphones Took Over.

To make her argument Jayden brought up the following points:

  1. The internet and smartphones are affecting our mental and physical health.
  2. Society is loosing skills once valued.
  3. Technology may not actually be beneficial for students.
  4. We are missing important moments in life.

The first point that Jayden made was that there are health risks to using the internet and smart phones. If you remember, several weeks ago when I participated in a debate on whether or not phone should be allowed in classrooms, I used this exact point to argue that phones shouldn’t be allowed in elementary and middle school classrooms. I did significant research on the mental, emotional, and physical health risks of using the cellular devices and can say with certainty that the health risks are a cause for alarm. An article provided suggested by Jayden also discussed these risks claiming:

Although absent from the present diagnostic guidelines such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scholars have recognized that while fine, there may be a line between general technology use and unhealthy use related to physical, social, and psychological problems.

As a society we definitely need to bring these risks to light and work to find solutions. But are these risks enough to throw digital technology out the window?

John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Image

Another one of Jayden’s points that caught me eye was that technology is causing us to miss life’s important moments. Unlike the health risks, this is something that I see and hear about ALOT. Every time a concert is put on in town my Snapchat and Instagram are loaded with videos from the concert. Whenever I go out with friends cellphones seem to be a priority. When ever something remotely ‘cool’ happens, the first thing I see people do is pull out their phone! Jayden is right, clearly there is an addiction to social media in our society that leaves people missing out. But I still question whether ridding of social media from society entirely is the cure. If we look at other addictions we see that this is not the solution. Rather, it is up to the individual to make personal life choices in order to overcome the addictions. Below is a video that I found a couple years ago where Simon Sinek explains the dangers of social media addiction and suggests way to resolve it:

Simon calls out society’s addiction with social media and emphasizes Jayden’s point that we are missing out on important moments because of this addiction:

But if you don’t have the phone, you just kind of enjoy the world, and that’s where ideas happen. The constant, constant, constant engagement is not where you have innovation and ideas. Ideas happen when our minds wonder and we go and see something and think “I bet I could do that”.

Simon Sinek

When I first watched this video and heard Simon’s words it blew my mind. I became far more conscious of society’s addiction to technology and even began leaving my phone at home more often. Yet I still question, is the solution getting rid of digital technology and social media and basically returning to the good old days?

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Opposition: We Have Not Become Too Dependent on Technology and We Would Not Be Better Off Returning to the “Good Old Days” Before the Internet and Smartphones Took Over.

To make her argument Kiera stated that we are not too dependent on technology and we wouldn’t be better off returning to the ‘good old days’ because technology provides us with:

  1. Connection
  2. Power and Opportunity
  3. Efficiency
  4. Facilitation

Two of Kiera’s points that stood out to me were connection and efficiency. As a student, these are the greatest reasons for why I appreciate technology. Research has never been easier with the vast online database of scholarly articles, journals, and book. With a click of a button I am connected with thousands of resources, and with a simple search of a key word I can find exactly what I need for my assignments. I literally can’t imagine what it would have been like before online databases. Having to go to the library and search through thousands of book just to find a study, fact, statistic, or phrase to include in your essay. It is almost incomprehensible. The connection is so, so simple, and such a time saver. And this connection and efficiency goes far beyond educational research. Not only do we have instant access to article, journals, and book, but people as well, and this is where things become problematic as demonstrated by Jayden. One of the articles suggested by Kiera discusses these problems:

Change creates new tensions and problems in society, which must be carefully managed — or progress can be easily reversed.

So, how do we resolve this issue?

Conclusion

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

We have to learn to put the phone down! Like any other addiction, when the source’s pros outweigh the cons, the solution is not to remove the source completely, rather, it is up to the addicted individual to resist the temptation and perhaps make personal life changes in order to resolve the addiction. Through my research and the information provided by the debaters, I have found that the use of technology (at least for adults) has more pros than cons. So, therefor, I do not believe that returning to the good old days is our best option. Would it solve our problem? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean that future generation won’t wind up ending in the same predicament just like us. We need to make this addiction known. Those who are addicted need to realize their addiction. And then the addiction needs to be addressed. Those who aren’t addicted to technology should not suffer the consequences of those who are.

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4 thoughts on “Were ‘The Good Old Days’ Better Than Today’s Technological Age?

  1. Hey Tiana,
    I think you’ve done a great job summarizing the debate by using the resources provided by the debaters and also incorporating your own findings. I agree with you that we cannot blame technology for all of the world’s problems and that simply getting rid of technology does not ensure that we will have healthier more well-rounded lives. In saying this, I also agree that the focus needs to be shifted from technology itself to the users controlling it! Not all humans are addicted to technology so we cannot make the assumption that technology has to be so dominant in our lives all the time. As you said, we need to learn to put our phone and down from time to time to find a balance!
    Lauren

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ms.Sydney McGrath

    Hi Tianna! I love how you structure all of your blog posts! They are always so neat and organized with relevant quotes and pictures! On this topic, I really like how you concluded your argument by stating we need to recognize these addictions and personally make a change instead of getting rid of it entirely, because as you said that will not benefit the future! Great blog post!

    Like

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