Monday, July 25, 2011

To the iPhone Generation,

The other day, as I was sitting on the ferry during my evening commute, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone around me was on some-or-other electronic device. Most of the teenagers were texting. The woman next to me was talking on her cell phone as her child sat quietly next to her, absorbed in his Nintendo DS. The man in a business suit who sat a row down was busy typing away on his laptop.

But there was nothing unusual about this scene. Nowadays, college students can’t possibly get work done without laptops, little children need cell phones, and if you don’t have an iPod, there must be something wrong with you. And the Internet – I can’t even begin to imagine – how would we communicate without email, or stay in touch with old friends without Facebook and Twitter? We would be lost in oblivion without Google to answer all our problems.

I really am in awe of how fast technology has grown and how quickly it has enveloped our lives.

I remember when my family got our first desktop computer, when I was in elementary school. It was such a huge deal back then, to own your own computer. My sister and I would take turns using that desktop. Now there are five computers in my house and we think nothing of it. I remember in school, teachers would give us projects and ask us to raise our hands if we had computers at home. If we didn’t, we’d have to go to the library to use one. Can you imagine teachers asking that nowadays? It would be absurd to think that someone didn’t have a computer.

I remember how my sister and I would record ourselves on tapes. But tapes became obsolete when CD’s became popular. And now, it’s all about mp3’s and iPods.

I remember back in middle school, when we did research projects, we would use search engines like Yahoo! or Ask Jeeves.  I still remember the day when a classmate told me Google was better than all of them. Today, we ask Google everything.

I remember when I got my first cell phone. The screen was green and the characters that showed up on it were black. Picture phones were a luxury. Now I see little children running around with iPhones, which are capable of infinitely more than what my first cell phone could ever do.

I was talking to my friends the other day about how everything has become so simple, so fast, and so digitized. Gone is the romanticism of writing letters; you can connect with someone from the other side of the world in an instant. But as great as technology is at helping us connect with people, it keeps it all digital. And we’re losing real face time and interaction. 

So, from time to time, stop texting, put down your phones and have a real conversation. Break out of your digital bubble and experience the world. I promise, there’s so much more than meets the i-Phone :)

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