Who doesn't love the astonishing leaps technology has made? It makes our lives not only easier but also longer. Who could live without a refrigerator? What teenager doesn't have (or at least desire) an iPod? Technology is essential to the modern American lifestyle.
The question is, are we using it too much?
Is society so firmly founded on technology that in some ways its use is actually hurting us?
Studies largely point to things such as television and video games as two reasons (the other is diet) for obesity, particularly in children and young adults.
Some people fear we are growing too dependent on technology. Most of us have laughed when comedians and sitcoms pose the idea. It's true that kids wonder how parents lived when they actually had to get up to change the channel, and how people whose batteries have died in the TV remote will watch whatever channel is on because they're too lazy to get up.
When asked whether he thought Americans were too dependent on technology, Kevin Lee, a 17-year-old junior at Westminster Schools of Augusta, said yes.
"(Technology) is great, but sometimes we use it too much," he said. "I don't think we can do nearly as many math problems as we should without a calculator."
Mitchell Snyder, 17, also a junior from Westminster, agreed.
"We use cell phones too much," he said. "Sure, it's good to be able to call anyone from anywhere, but I think people abuse it by talking on it constantly. With that and e-mail, I believe we aren't talking with people the same way anymore. An instant letter or text message isn't very personal."
Surprisingly, most people I asked agree that we use technology too much. Yet, if so many people think this way, why is its overuse so common?
I'd venture that it likely is because of technology's advantages. Teens just don't play outside that often because a few hours with a video game after school appeals more than throwing around the pigskin. I'm not saying that throwing a football is unappealing. It's just that it is less prevalent because many people do other things on electronics rather that stay outside for recreation. Who could possibly miss that new episode of Family Guy? Who doesn't want to chat with their friend whenever they get the chance?
We are all so used to the new, longer, healthier, pampered life that technology gives us that we can't simply go back to the "simple life." Honestly, not many people would want to go back to tilling dirt all year.
Still, technology is consuming us past the point where it is a good thing. Its overuse is seen constantly, from driving a block instead of walking to vegetating in front of the TV watching infomercials. We are losing a race for moderation and failing to strike a balance between being high tech and low metabolism or social skills.
Games are great; I'm not urging people to burn their .Xboxes I'm just suggesting that you stay outside after school and kick the ball around for a while before going to watch your favorite sitcom.
Mason Webb, 17, is a rising senior at Westminster Schools of Augusta.
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