Technology Overload

catt, davidLife has been improved and complicated by the advancements in technology.

From 1900 to 2009, the world has changed substantially. There are 5 billion more people alive, numerous new types of transportation and communications, and great strides have been made in civil rights regarding equality.

We have walked on the moon, flown at Mach 3 and increased economic and industrial production tenfold. Technology has advanced to the point where I can sit in the command chair in front of my computer and track the progress of the peloton through the Tour de France. Or I can have Paris Hilton’s Twitter updates sent straight to my pocket through a cell phone.  Technology is addictive, dumbfounding and invigorating. We’ve created all this new technology, but is it always a good thing?

According to Ron Aust, professor of education at the University of Kansas, high school students  today are exposed to at least 10 times more information than they were just 15 years ago. That’s a 1000 percent increase in just 15 years, largely due to the proliferation of cell phones and the Internet. Students are constantly bombarded with text messages, phone calls, TV shows, movies and all these things converging on the Internet. We are eternally connected to the network through these gadgets. We are no longer sticking it to the man; we are becoming one with the man.

Because of this colossal expansion in information technology, students are expected to know more, do more and achieve more. An honest day’s work on the farm is no longer an option. I once heard a teacher claim that students are expected to know 600 percent more information than their counterparts of 100 years ago.

That’s 600 percent more stuff to learn, with a 0 percent increase in time. In fact, we probably have even less time to learn all this information with the amount of time spent on sports, jobs and other extracurricular activities.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the technological advancements that have made life easier. There’s nothing greater than checking ESPN Mobile updates while driving through an Iowa corn field, streaming live television to a phone or looking up a future vacation spot on Google Earth. But sometimes it all gets to be a little too much. I feel like I’m becoming part of the system and losing some aspects of my individuality.

With the endless cycle of school, extracurricular activities and social life, we hardly get time to reflect on our own personal issues. Sometimes when it becomes a little overbearing, I begin to yearn for a journey back to the old days, when adventures through the woods took the place of literary analyses and thoughts of an hour of homework would send chills down my spine. This might just be a pessimistic reflection of growing up, an invasion of privacy by technology, or I could be onto something.

So, to find out, I will go where no high school student has dared to venture before. Before our next issue, I’ll go an entire weekend without the use of cell phones, television or the Internet and comment on my experiences.