During my second week with my immersion course undergraduate students, we discussed the role that technology plays in our lives and watched the TED talk ‘Alone but Connected?’ by Sherry Turkle. I gave the students a written assignment with the simple title ‘Technology Rules?’, using at least five of the new words and phrases we’ve learned during the course and have just started reading their responses. One of my students, a young, sensitive and bright woman who is about to get married wrote me a piece that completely blew me away. I’ve obviously corrected the grammar and spelling and now it’s good enough to publish to the world. Read and chew on this one:
(a written assignment by one of my undergraduate students)
I shun technology because I have watched my mother become addicted to it. She is unable to drive, drink coffee or even sit and talk to her own (adult) children without whatsapping at the same time. When I was young, I didn’t notice that that was a problem; I thought she was busy working. However, then I left home and whenever she came to visit, wherever I was, she was using her phone and we couldn’t have a real conversation.
My mother exhibits signs of perpetual loneliness; she always seems like she would prefer to be somewhere else and with someone else rather than with me. But then I came to the understanding that we all are like this; we meet with friends and family, but at the same time we send texts to others saying ‘See you!’
Technology has made us autistic. We don’t look at the view, we take a picture, we don’t call to ask ‘How are you?” , we send a text message. Maybe we rind it harder to look each other in the eye than before. Loneliness and boredom during social events are escalating.
My mom is an example of this addiction. She has become lonelier as time has gone by, but she doesn’t understand that Whatsapp is the disease and not the cure. Sharing every moment, view or thought of life every second prevents deep and long conversations that make us feel closer together and not just staying abreast of each others’ lives.
So I want you, the reader to rest assured that I will never get into this situation. I have made a pledge to myself with the following rules:
- I don’t use a smartphone while I’m waiting for someone or a bus: I need to stare into space, read or imagine things.
- When I am with friends or family my phone is on mute in my bag and my mind and soul are set to communicate.
- If I have nothing to do I will not use the computer or phone for distraction (there is always something to read, paint, play with or clean
I follow these three rules to make my day more productive, sociable and creative. As a result, I have time to keep a diary of dreams and thoughts that I muse on at the bus station, to paint and to spend with my partner.
I wish my mother would take at least one rule from this list upon herself, it would change her life for good.