With the advent of modern technology, interaction between individuals has become instantaneous and effortless. The sheer amount of personal information provided by the internet, along with its ease of access, affords great opportunities for connecting with others; whether across town or across the Pacific. However, such an incredible feat in communications has brought with it negative effects. For one, persons more rarely interact with one another in real world situations. Instead, they opt to act veiled from behind computer screens or cellular devices. It has this dehumanized interactions, and so, made contact feel less real. Not only is this a problem simply because we have come to forget how to talk to one another in person, but also, due to the fact that messaging has been taken advantage of. What would never have been thought to say to an individual’s face suddenly seems more reasonable when sitting behind the security of a screen. For those who intend to hurt others, harsh, demoralizing statements of one’s figure become simple comments on a social media picture when filtered through the internet. However, it is all the same for those receiving the abuse on the other end, sometimes even worse due to publicity of the embarrassment. This has been an ongoing dilemma for my own generation, having seen the metamorphosis from life to online first hand, and will continue to pose problems for future generations that are yet to be born into the turbulence of technology
According to the Cyber Bullying Statistics of 2010 (http://www.bullyingstatistics.org), “Over half, about 56 percent, of all students have witnesses a bullying crime take place while at school…” with, “…about 71 percent of students that report bullying as an on-going problem.” It is obvious that this is a serious problem. Online harassment is not only widespread over a majority of students, but also consistent. High percentages of individuals have been reported to skip school after being abused online due to fear of being bullied in person. Bullies feed off of the weak, sucking life out of their prey, sometimes physically, but more horribly, literally. “Bullycide”, a term associated with suicide due to bullying, has unfortunately come to flourish in society. In recent years, more and more individuals have been seen taking their lives, and the percentages have only been increasing due to internet activity. Consistent malice and demoralization is often more potent than physical attacks, and can leave the mind crippled. What follows is depression, a mental disease that consumes one’s body. For many, there is only one option from here, an escape from the pain– death.
A large portion of the continuation of this problem lies in unawareness. Kids and young adults in middle school or even high school, where online harassment is most common, do not realize the severity of their actions. By spreading awareness, we can ensure that the next time an individual is about to send a hurtful message, he or she deletes the thought, and thus, helps delete cyber bullying.
Another threat posed by technology, perhaps not as lucidly obvious, is the addiction and dependence it creates. I know I speak for many when I say that a few hours without wireless internet seem like an eternity. This may not be a fault of our own, but more a fault of society as a whole. In recent times, whether in the workforce or education, has been put on speed and stress. This leaves individuals with an impossible schedule to fulfill, and robs these people of time necessary for personal development. With the dawn of video sharing sites, such as YouTube, the younger generation has been exposed to only a select niche of the “popular section”. Individuals are extremely influenced while watching make up tutorials for girls, or gaming commentary for guys. These figures serve as idols and ideals to which it seems everyone must conform. This has created a class of young people who are in essence, all the same. An effort must be made to limit the amount of content available so that the younger generation can develop on their own accord, without heavy influence from outside stimuli, to ensure ingenuity and creativity drive the human spirit, not high top sneakers or a beauty palette. Additionally, with the mechanization of life, a shift towards placing any and every human action into the hands of machines for the purpose of “ease” has become all too apparent. It seems logical to take advantage of revolutionary equipment, but to completely place one’s trust in a device is not wise. In the future society we are on track to, low battery or a missing screw could prevent us from being able to cook food or even connecting with others.
As the famous maxim goes, “Everything in moderation.” Of course, with the opportunity, we must full utilize technology available to us; however, we must act scrupulously and care to prevent such technology from controlling our lives.