Computers and technology were once advertised promising to provide more leisure time. So why are we still running around and working such long hours? Why are we always on our computers? Did technology free us up?
Leisure time has been consumed in this day and age by our over consumption of technology. Technology should aid us and help alleviate some of the menial tasks that can be taken over by automation. So why are we still running around and letting screens over take our lives?
Think about this scenario: When you leave work in the evening, do you still have to check your work emails when you are home? If yes, do you feel like your computer and phone give you more freedom?
Why Can’t We Escape?
Computers first gave us new storage and more capabilities than an electric typewriter. Next, laptops gave us the ability to take work or school anywhere with us. Next, the Internet, opened up unlimited opportunities. From there, laptops and computers became smaller and lighter and the Internet became faster and more widespread. With all of this technology came an accessibility that can help us find any solution at any time 24/7.
This means that many businesses are no longer confined to their traditional 9 to 5 work day. Companies can now easily operate and be available to customers and clients all day, every day. Some companies, particularly internet-based companies, outsource to support hubs, while some even place their own employees in on-call night and weekend shifts for support. This leads to greater customer reach and larger sales numbers, but where did our day of rest go?
Even if your job does not require you to be on-call overnight or over the weekend, when you go home do you leave your technology at work or set it down at home until the next morning? Of course not! Partially, our leisure time away from computers and screens is consumed by our personal desire to check in to social media, watch streaming services, and play games on our phones – sometimes simultaneously. While none of that is necessarily a bad thing and often can provide a way to wind down from a stressful work day, admittedly, screens have taken over our lives.
Advantages of Technology
Technology, in and of itself, is not a bad thing – it can actually helps us save lives, particularly in the way of medical technological advancements. Technology also allows us to automate many tasks that would otherwise hold efficiency and advancements back. Computers, phones, and screens aid everyone to some extent, whether you are the most tech-savvy business person or you have little to no interaction with technology at all. Who would have thought, even a few decades ago, that you could FaceTime someone across the country, or across the world, on your mobile smartphone without being connected to anything but a mobile provider and a satellite connection?
Also, computers and other technology did not take away the leisure time that we were promised – we did. We were the ones running around before and we are the ones running around now. Computers were meant to give us more down time, so why aren’t we taking it?
The Technological Balance
Just as with anything and everything in life, there needs to be a balance with all of this technology. Technology is not bad and it should not be stopped, but it also should not consume our entire waking, and even sleeping, lives. Computers, phones, and screens have provided us with great opportunity, but they also should not hold us back from greater opportunity, such as sitting down with our family for dinner and talking to those at the dinner table. There will always be more to do and more errands to run and more lists to jot down on your smartphone, but also remember to stop every once in a while and to take that day of rest.