I have had a love-hate relationship with technology for many years. I have been frustrated by mandated updates, spam, and lost data. My frustrations have come as a result of slow working processing systems and human mishaps. I wondered why devices have not been able to withstand my family dropping phones on the ground, dropping phones in tea, washing them in the pockets of their dirty clothes, or “accidentally” taking them into the shower at the beach in Florida. All of the mishaps taught me about the business of insuring devices and the shady marketing of the “family” plans that marketed as budget savers. The provides of data and cell towers, in my opinion, took full advantage of all of us who struggle to live with devices, but can’t live without them. I never wanted to call them fraudulent or shady in their pricing, sales pitches, and advertising, but I don ‘t know how else to describe the deception that reveals itself in my billing statement and shifts in interpretation of the fine print when I call customer service.
While I have struggled with technology, there are a number of reasons the privilege of ownership and access have blessed my socks off:
- FaceTime with my family makes the distance more tolerable. FaceTime, however, challenges me when someone calls and I’m driving or in between the bad hair moment and the better hair day.
- Using my devices to engage with folks through social media is a blessing and a curse. Receiving updates and entertainment related to people and topics that interest me is a blessing. The addiction to the handheld devices brings pressure to check emails and look for notifications or alerts.
- Balancing my emotional regulator and my time were not problems for me when there were not cell phones, internet, electronic games, social media, or emails. I had to follow some fun accounts in order to feed myself laughter and endorphins more than I feed myself the weight of publications associated with news or work related topics.
- With Christmas fast approaching, online shopping has been a saving grace for me. I like shop therapy and windows shopping. However, stores crowded with “happy” shoppers does not appeal to me. Holiday shoppers often forget that it is the season to be jolly, merry, and gracious so I prefer the look at the smiling stock photos of people and just imagine the lovely thoughts bouncing around in their heads.
- This week a family member who is less technologically savvy than I am lost a cell phone. I guess where it might be, but a return visit to the location yielded nothing. At work I learned about how to add a notification with my telephone number to the lost phone in the event that an honest person found it and wanted to return it to the owner. I had not been successful the day prior, but I tried again last night. Bright and early my phone rang and it was a lady asking if I lost a phone. Through the brief conversation we learned that we had a mutual friend. The nice lady worked all day to get the phone returned. Now, the phone is back with the owner and I feel grateful that I didn’t let my negative thoughts about technology prevent me from using an app and the cloud to connect a loved one to the gadget keeps a great deal of their business.
This week I used my phone to promote an event at work that I hoped would help me connect the students on my campus to resources. I couldn’t imagine doing life without my cell phone. I knew my family member felt that way too. I also knew that if I didn’t help find that phone I would be helping to buy a newer more expensive one. As much as I hate to admit it, the thought of new cell phones are dancing in my head like the “sugar plums” in “Twas the night before Christmas.” My hope is that all of us find a way to balance dependency on electronic devices with other priorities in our lives.