The impact of social media/new technology on our lives

Hello you wonderful people,

as you may (or may not know) I’m currently studying applied media and communication in University and in my studies I had last semester and this semester also the topics of media technology and how they impact on our lives. Don’t worry I try not to bore you with any theories and how for example cameras are built and stuff but I want to talk about what impact they have in our everyday lives.

Thinking back to when I was a child. I got up in the morning and before school the only media I used was the radio to listen to some music. Now when I wake up the first think is to grab my phone, check Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. After that I finally get up, put in my headphones and listen to some music on my iPod to get me ready for the day. During breakfast I go back to my phone reply to messages again or play games or whatever.

Being a child I always went to school half an hour early and met up with my friends at the playground to play and have some fun before school began. During school the only media I was confronted with was when a teacher used a CD-Player (and yes believe me or not but those still exist) or on very rare occasions a TV.

These days when I walk to Uni on my own I use, once again, my iPod to play some music, during my lectures basically everybody is either on their phones or Laptops. Every single professor uses Power Point or other types of Presentations to hold their lecture, projected by massive beamers.

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After school I always either went home to do some homework and then played wither with my friends outside, had a play date or forced my brothers to play a game or Barbie or whatever with me. At around 6pm I always had to be at home, then we soon had dinner and after that I was allowed to have some TV time with my parents and my brothers for like an hour or so. Also when I grew up and technology developed a bit more I was also allowed to go to our Family- Computer (!) for around 1 ½ hours. Bare in mind that it was only 1 ½ h because our computer took around half an hour to actually boot plus to dial into the internet.

Now I walk home from Uni (once again listening to music on my iPod and with my phone in my hands), go to my desk, turn on my laptop and do stuff on there for Uni, beside of that I always have my phone next to me to write with my friends and check social media every other occasion. Once I’m done with Uni things I might write a blog post or read things the others have posted or I’m on YouTube checking my Subscription-box or checking the news online. After I had dinner I normally either go back on YouTube, I turn on my TV and see if something good is on or I turn on Netflix and see if there’s a film I like or I watch some series. Beside of that I’m always on my phone writing messages or checking social media. In the night my phone is never turned off, it’s just on silent and the Wifi is turned off.

As you can see I tried and compare my live when I was a pupil in elementary school and now and it’s shocking which big difference it is. I’m basically never offline.

I realized how much I’m actually confronted with media when in one of my Seminars we developed a questionnaire and in one of the question you should tell how much time you spend actively on your phone. I guess after seeing how much I’m using media, it’s no surprise that me and my fellow students had around like 8 to 10 hours. And to be fair I think it’s even more than that.

When you think about it you use basically the whole time you’re awake some form of media or technology. Your phone, your laptop, a radio, an iPod, a TV and even when you use a land-line (yes, they also do still exist, believe it or not). Nowadays using these things are normal and part of your everyday live that you don’t even realize how much you’re trapped in any form of media.

But most shockingly to me are the kids that are in the age of being in elementary school. Around 2 years ago I was in a big supermarket with my family. I wondered around with my brother and it happen that we stood next to a young mum with her son (he was maybe around like 8 or so). They talked about the finally report and he asked his mum, if it’s still a deal between them that if he gets only 1 and 2’s (A and B’s, the German school system is differently) that he gets the new iPhone. My brother and me looked at each other in horror. Firstly because at this time I had like a crappy phone with which you basically only could phone and write messages (nop, no social media, no Whatsapp (yes I know it’s social media but very controversy if it is one) and even no mobile data or Wifi) but at this time it was totally fine. And secondly because this little boy was just like 8 or so. When we were at his age we went out, played outside with our friends and had a limited time of media-time. Surely we’re living in a more modern world than it was when I was his age and media and especially social media is very important in our everyday lives nowadays but is it that important that you even need it in such a young age? I don’t know how many times my host-children cried and fought with their parents because they weren’t allowed to use the computer or play on their phone 24/7. They always had the argument that all of their friends are allowed to do so and that it’s unfair and they take away their social live and all these arguments we all have used before for sure. I personally agreed with my host parents on this point of having a certain time in front of screens. I had a friend England and when I told her about the limited time of media my hostchildre had she laughed at my host parents and how stupid it is, but then she also complaint on a daily basis to me that all her host children is spending their time on their phone or iPad or whatever and that it is unnecessary to have an iPad, iPod and iMac at the age of 9 and she never could do anything with them because they’re always only want to play on their screens. I guess the laughing of hers was unnecessary then.

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But anyhow, if you reflect on how much you actually use your phone or you spent in front of a screen it’s damn scary. Even if you don’t spent that much time on your phone or so for a day everybody instantly is asking why you’re not replaying, if everything is okay and such things.

Sure, new technology is a great invention and super handy to keep in contact with your friends and family and share things you like with other people but if you think about it it’s also super scary how much time you spent with it and how much time it takes away from your everyday life and what you could do instead.

I know it’s very pathetic from me to write something like this on our blog, which is on the Internet and which I run with people I can only stay in contact with using social media but still, it’s scary to me.

So today I’ve got a task for you guys. Sit down and think about how much time you spent in from of screens and how much time you use actively you’re phone (tip, if you’re really interested in finding the last thing out, there are apps who are counting your time or if you have a iPhone go to battery in the settings and see how much you actively have used your phone/battery).

I think I’m off now, going to read my book and turn off my Internet for once. But we all now that in an hour or so I will be back on it and read the newest messages or look at the newest Snapchat of my friends and celebrities.

I hope you have a good day and maybe even try to spent a day where you aren’t spending that much time with media because it’s actually very liberating.

Lots of love,

Jenny

 

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