Redeat Getachew, '23
Technology has played a pivotal role in shaping how we carry out our daily lives and our communication with friends and family. This has never been more evident than in the past year and a half, where we had to depend on technology to maintain some form of normalcy we lost due to the pandemic. As every single one of us experienced, when the pandemic spread throughout the world, we no longer had the day-to-day contact many of us took for granted in the past. It was with this crisis that truly made me more appreciative of my access to technology.
As I priorly mentioned, the main reason I used technology was for communication. Even before the pandemic, technology played a major role in helping to maintain my connections to my friends and family members. For example, my relatives are spread out across the world and we are seldom able to meet up and have a chat. Pre-pandemic, we’ve been calling them as often as possible to stay connected. This reliance on technology has increased in the past year and a half, whether it was through FaceTime, zoom, or texting. I relied on those applications to maintain and foster the relationships I had formed before the pandemic. It was also another way to check up on our elderly family members and the immunocompromised who had to take more precautions.
Technology does more than promote connection, though, as evidenced by the use of Zoom to continue students’ educations. Whether families brought their own computers, or the school provided them, students used those computers to efficiently continue their schoolwork in the absence of an in-person education. Applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams were used to connect teachers and students.
Technology is definitely important and useful in our lives, but it is vital to consider its downsides. For instance, not everyone can have access to technologies. I feel very privileged that I have access to such technology, but there are so many out there who do not. There were likely many families struggling through the pandemic due to not being able to continue their childrens’ education via online learning. Technology can only make a difference if everyone is able to have the same access to it.
In addition, it is important to consider the negative effect excessive use of technology can have on one’s mental health. While my access to technology definitely helped me stay connected to family members and friends, I know that those same apps used to interact with friends and families have had a negative influence. There has been a rise in far-right extremism that has translated outside of the screen, and we also see that social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, plays a major role in hurting young girls’ self-esteem.
Overall, however, technology is very significant in my life and the pandemic would have been more mentally taxing without the ability to communicate with my friends and family. It is with that same gratitude that I emphasize the importance of a broader access to technology so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of this indispensable tool.
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