Busier Than Ever!

In modern America, technology is present everywhere. It can be described as unavoidable. Technology was meant to make life simpler, but in actuality, it makes us busier and takes time away from other things we could be doing, like spending time with our families and enjoying ourselves.

As a modern day college student, I couldn’t imagine going a day without my phone or my laptop. There’s so much work to keep up with, and I’m always getting constant notifications. I’m always busy and sometimes I feel like I don’t spend enough time with my family. In the book Busier Than Ever, by Charles Darrah, James Freeman, and J. A. English-Lueck, published in 2007, the authors talk about how busyness takes time away from families. One point that really hit home was that technology enables us to bring work with us everywhere we go. For a person like myself this is great, however it makes vacations suck because I have the constant reminder. Phones and PDA’s also make it easier for people to keep to-do lists, which helps them go about their daily tasks. This creates more work because first you have to figure out how to input tasks, then how to categorize them in way of importance, then figure out how to mark them as completed. Then you have to go into your phone and do this again when you want to add a new item. While this gives us the convenience of being able to put it into our phones and not worry about losing the paper to-do list, it still puts people at a disadvantage because of how long it could take to input it in the first place. One family in the book, the Carlsberg’s, talk about their PDA’s and how they struggle (116). Alex, the husband, had a PDA for his addresses and important reminders. He said he would have organized it all, if he had the time, but he is just too busy. His wife, Pat, uses lists on paper and has an address book she keeps on her. I personally like Pat’s way better because it seems simpler and like a better way to keep lists.

In addition to work, technology also can be fun and addicting. For one family in the book, it made a vacation much more expensive. Rajiv Mohan’s nephew Surya had to buy a gaming system, which are expensive, just for his cousin Frank to be able to come visit (51). Rajiv’s son, Frank, refused to leave the house to go on vacation because he couldn’t take his gaming system. To me that is ridiculous because I know time with family is more important than time playing the latest video game. While this might be an individual case, it is still upsetting to see how addicting video games can be, especially when it comes to someone so young. Another example of how video games seem to control the young is with the Carlsbergs, who were mentioned earlier. Their two sons, Robert and James, go to a daycare, and at this daycare there is a Nintendo and two computers (172-173). The Nintendo has 10 minute time slots and the children crowd around the television, watching others play games. When I was growing up, I wasn’t dependent on video games to entertain me, I had coloring books and other books to help my development. It might just be how I was raised, but I don’t think a daycare should have a video gaming system because the children are young and research into how video games affect development is not conclusive. While I am neither for nor against video games, I think we should know a little bit more about how video games can affect development before we let children play them.

Another way technology makes us busier is that it allows us to keep in constant contact with each other. There are two cases in the book that I want to mention here, one is from Rajiv, who I mentioned earlier, and the other is from the Mendozas and the Joneses. Rajiv’s brother was really sick and lived in India, Rajiv lives in the United States (168-169). Rajiv used technology to talk to his brother and his brother’s cardiologist in India with Rajiv’s own cardiologist and discuss what was wrong. Rajiv then arranged so that if anything went wrong during his brother’s angioplasty that he would head over to India with his cardiologist to help. In this example, we see how being connected makes us busier, but this example is also a good example of how technology can help us while making us busier, Rajiv was there for his brother who is on the other side of the globe. The next family is an example of how sometimes being connected all the time is not a good thing. The Mendoza/Joneses, as they are called in the book, put their daughters in a daycare (166-167). The daycare lady’s husband wanted to install cameras in the daycare so the parents can check on their children. The daycare lady didn’t like the idea of having cameras in her daycare, and Suzanne Jones, the mother, also didn’t like the idea. She felt that the cameras violated a trust she had in the daycare lady, who she had done extensive research into. While this is a good idea, it seems like it would be more work to maintain and to check. It could also make the daycare lady very uncomfortable because she would be continuously watched. Both of these examples show how technology can make us busier, but still be family oriented.

In conclusion, I discussed how technology makes us busier, and used some examples from the book Busier Than Ever. I also used examples from my own life that showed times where I felt that technology did more damage than help. Technology makes people like the Carlsberg’s busier by requiring upkeep and multiple steps to maintain a functional to do list. With the Mohan’s examples, it helped save his brother, but it also cost his family a lot of money because Rajiv’s nephew had to buy an expensive gaming system. While technology may be helpful in certain cases, I feel that it shouldn’t be as prevalent as it currently is.

by Jacquie Boudreaux

 

References

Darrah, C. N., Freeman, J. B., & English-Lueck, J. A. (2007). Busier Than Ever! Stanford: Stanford University Press.

 

 

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